One of the most frequently asked questions to our pilots in relations to flying is how to deal with jet lag. Unfortunately, a pilot does not have a magical solution to this travel problem, they do succumb to it as much as the next person does.
Symptoms can include but not limited to disturbed sleep, difficulty concentrating, daytime fatigue, as well as problems with appetite and digestive issues. These symptoms affect people traveling across multiple time zones and whether you are flying privately or commercially, business or leisure, they can dampen the start of any trip. Here is a guide with some unique ways to lessen the symptoms to make it more bearable or get rid of it completely.
What is the cause of jet lag?
When our internal body clock gets disrupted, we experience a series of symptoms otherwise known as jet lag. Our body clock runs parallel to the regular patterns of the day and keeps us in tune to regulate properly. This clock helps us sleep at night and function to trigger hunger cues, affects our mood as well are our blood pressure. This clock runs off of the light that surrounds us; the sun is the main signal that drives our internal clock to reset every day. The majority of the tips in this article revolve around light.
How to prevent jet lag
Jet lag prevention is best begun before you even set foot on the aircraft. Even as early as a few days before a trip for the dedicated traveler. The first recommendation is to change your sleep routine. If you’ll be traveling west, start going to bed later a few days before you travel. Or vice versa when traveling east.
Once you’re on the flight, here are a number of things you can do to combat the effects of jet lag.
Make the effort to be comfortable
We recommend getting an eye mask and some ear plugs to help you ease into sleep. Having the right conditions for sleep during a long haul flight can make all the difference in how your experience jet lag. Consider renting a jet with a flat bed seat option or if available, a bed, so you can sleep through your flight.
Get used to wearing sunglasses during your flight and not feel weird about it
The light that surrounds you is what drives your clock as mentioned previously, as such, you can minimize the light that your eyes detect and thus your body clock responds to by wearing sunglasses. This controls the exposure to light, artificial or natural, which can help set your body clock to a new routine.
Schedule in your eating & sleeping ahead of time
Prepare a couple of days ahead of time before your departure to sync with the local time of your destination. By eating and sleeping according to this new routine, your body can more easily adjust once you land. Change the time on your watch to meet the local time to help you adjust your mind during the flight so that your body clock can adjust to the new time zone before you even land.
Keep active and engage in some physical activities
Try to move around a bit around the cabin and stretch regularly during the flight when you are not sleeping. You will create blood flow through your system to help lessen the effect of your jet lag symptoms.
Drink plenty of water
Jet lag is made worse by dehydration due to the dry atmosphere in the cabin. One of the most dreaded thing about aviation travel is the dehydration passengers experience. It is recommended that you drink plenty of water and to minimize or even avoid completely any caffeine and alcohol.