Whew. I think I have finally made it out of the time zone change syndrome or as it is commonly known as Jet-lag!

Waking up in the early hours starving hungry for no apparently reason. Managing to do a weeks worth of ironing in the middle of the night (I wouldn’t even be ironing at any other time). Falling asleep at the most inappropriate moments.

Travelling with someone suffering from this disorder despite how temporary cannot be fun for travelling companions, unless of course you are all in the same boat.

Sleeping Japanese style

Apparently as you get older, the worse or the longer the symptoms hang around. Besides fatigue and insomnia, a jet lag sufferer may experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms, including anxiety, constipation, diarrhea, confusion, dehydration, headache, irritability, nausea, difficulty concentrating, sweating, coordination problems, dizziness and even memory loss.

I have a problem with concentration and coordination on a normal day let alone jet-lagged. It is a wonder I manage to stay upright in this condition. As a seasoned traveler, I have read many theories on how to help reduce Jet-lag over the years so here are some travel tips I have collected over the years.

1. Adjust your internal clock.
It is recommend at least four days before departure, gradually shift your sleeping and eating times to coincide with those at your destination. Personally I do this on the plane, I sleep and eat in the time zone I am travelling to rather the the time zone I have left.

2. Opt for overnight flights.
This is the best way to adjust your normal schedule and to reset your clock to the destination time zone.

3. No Caffeine
Killer for me, but no coffee while travelling, it makes you wake up more often once you do fall asleep and so reduces total sleep time.

4. Stay hydrated.
Drink at least as much water as you can every hour you’re in the air—even if you don’t feel thirsty. In your carry on luggage pack a bottle of moisturizing lotion, lip balm to keep your skin fresh. 

5. Avoid or limit alcohol in-flight.
Cabin air dehydrates passengers, and altitude changes can quicken the effects of alcohol. A Bloody Mary may relax you, but it’s also apt to dry you out, and several worsen symptoms of jet lag.

6. Try to sleep on the plane.
A good sleep on the plane at the time of sleep at destination helps you recover from jet lag more quickly. If you have a long flight invest in premium economy or business class.

If you travel eastward the day will seem longer. If you land in London from Chicago at 10 pm London time, it is still 4pm Chicago time. Come midnight it will be hard to sleep, because for your body clock it is still 6pm (not bed time). However, if you land in Chicago from London, by 10 pm you will find it easier to get to sleep, because 10 pm in Chicago is 4 am in London – for your body clock, if you live in London it is very late to be awake. 


7. Get outside.
If it is daytime at your destination spend as much time outside as you can. The exposure to sunlight will help your brain adjust to the new time zone.

  • Remain active. Don’t just go to your hotel room and sit in front of the television. If you desperately need a nap, take one only for 30 minutes. Any longer than that will make the jet lag worse.

8. Eat light meals.

Not only is your sleep cycle adjusting, but so is your digestive routine. Large, rich meals will make it all the more difficult for your body to adapt, and symptoms like constipation and diarrhea will put a damper on your vacation.

Thank goodness it doesn’t last long, anything you can do to reduce the effects and get into the swing of your trip makes it all the better!