A flight to different timezones can really mess with the body. The beginning of you trip can become disturbed by jet lag. A major side effect of a long-haul flight is disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level and a general feeling of not being well.
To avoid all of this, or at least reduce the symptoms, we followed some simple recommendations to see if they work. To share them with you, we’ve divided them into three parts: what to do before the flight, during the flight and after the flight.
Before the Flight:
- Set your clock to the destination timezone so you can start unconsciously living at the destination time.
- Try following the sleep and meal schedule of the place where you going.
- A few days before the flight we stayed up late and slept in to follow Buenos Aires time.
- We also tried to eat more inline with Buenos Aires meal times.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee the day of the flight, and do a high-intensity exercise in the morning before the flight — this helps reduce stress, making you feel more relaxed and tiring you out before your flight.
- Build up vitamin C in the body. During a long-haul flight, the air in the plane is limited and therefore recycled leading to a higher risk of sharing bacteria and getting sick. We began, a few days before the flight, boosting our immune system by eating a lot of oranges. We also purchased some chewable vitamin C tablets.
- Have a meal rich in DHA and omega 3 fatty acids before the flight. Stress on the body from jet lag causes inflammation, and by eating enough DHA and omega 3 fatty acids you’ll reduce the symptoms. Examples of food rich in omega 3 fatty acids are avocado, walnuts, olives, olive oil, salmon, tuna, sunflower seeds, eggs, sardines and anchovies.
- Take melatonin to help you sleep on the plane. Melatonin is a natural hormone that the body produces, taking a supplement during the flight can help to fall asleep easier and get a better rest.
- During the nighttime of your destination try to avoid blue light, by reducing the blue light emission of your electromagnetic devices, this will help to get some sleep during these hours.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration during the flight.
- Use a neck pillow, ear plugs and eye-mask when sleeping to avoid light and distractions.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee during the flight. These can cause dehydration and/or sleeplessness.
- Mobility exercises every hour (stretch and walk) to keep your blood flowing.
- Take vitamin C during the flight. To boost the immune system to prevent any sickness during the flight.
After the Flight:
- Ground yourself. Place your bare feet on grass to balance the positive and negative electrons, which become out of sync in the air.
- Spent the day outside to get natural sunlight
- Exercise outside to reset your body clock while reducing the symptoms of jet lag. Studies have shown that outdoor exercise can help synchronise your body.
- Take melatonin before going to sleep to get a good rest.
- Wait until it’s the evening to go to bed at your destination.
- Tip yourself upside down to get the blood flowing to your head, a bit of travel yoga or headstands, or like we did, find a playground and release the inner child at the jungle bars.
- Have a cold shower before going to bed to facilitate sleeping, it doesn’t sound like much fun but it really works.
We followed most of these life hacks on our flight from London to Buenos Aires. We improved our jet lag response and felt better during the flight and more able to sleep on the plane. We didn’t have any excessive sleepiness or insomnia in the following days, we were able to sleep well and in tune with Argentina time.
Check out our video with all our tips!