The Great Jet Lag Debate


SHE knows from first hand experience how tough it can be surviving a long haul flight. 5 hours, 15 or 25 hours...arriving at your destination feeling like a human being can be a challenge.  Enter 'the great jet lag debate'. Having read yet another online article with the list of 'how to survive jetlag', SHE's feeling a bit of a reality check coming on. Honestly folks, let's look seriously (with tongue firmly in cheek!) at these top 5 tips shall we?

1. Start rested: get plenty of rest before you fly and try to sleep during the flight SHE's usually so excited before a big trip that sleep before flying can be a bit elusive. Ah yep...nah. Sleeping during a flight? Are you kidding? SHE is 5'9 and unless there's a gift of an upgrade to the pointy end of the plane, sleep is not an option when sitting up in a slightly reclined seat with the guy behind me pulling on the back of the headrest every time he gets up (what IS that about?!)

Probability rating: zip

2. Eat well: a healthy diet will help you avoid jetlag and recover more quickly. What...on the plane?! SHE loves airline food - there...said it! Love the wee trays and the challenge of eating with elbows firmly tucked in, trying not to spill the tomato based sauce on the white tshirt (maybe shouldn't have worn white?!). Can't say no, wave it away and ask for a leafy salad and water please. That's not going to happen.

Probability rating: zip, nada

3. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Oh this is the absolute favourite! Sorry folks but each to their own...SHE loves the journey, and if you're travelling with friends, a couple of sneaky beers and a few bubbles are perfectly in order - aren't they? SHE takes her hat off to those who can follow this handy tip. Unfortunately, SHE has no self discipline and does quite enjoy a couple of drinks with friends on the flight. SHE does also fall back on the poorest excuse of all for not drinking enough water: that 600mls of liquid in a bottle has been forever banned on international flights, won't make it through security. Oh well...

Probability rating: absolutely zilch

4. Exercise: During the flight walk around the plane cabin regularly. Have you seen the new Air New Zealand inflight safety video? That's the kind of exercise we all need to be doing on a long haul flight! Hilarious! SHE's packing the lycra shorts and sparkly 80's top for the next flight for sure!

Probability rating: forget the walk around the cabin, give me an 80's soundtrack or Mamma Mia playing on the inflight entertainment list and SHE'll be dancing in the aisles!

5. On arrival adapt to the local time and eat accordingly. Yep...okay. SHE's in agreeance on this one, but it's not always practical. We have the best intentions getting off the plane, pretending not to feel like something the cat dragged in and knowing a hot shower and a good scrub are well overdue. Memo for new travellers: just don't lie down too soon! That sneaky nap may turn into 6 hours of blissful horizontal deep sleep - and you wake up at 8pm thinking its time for breakfast. Error!

The point - if you've listened to the Captain (and please do!) you'll have set your watch to the local time - bizarre as it may be after 15 hours cooped up sharing air with complete strangers. The challenge - have a lovely long shower, take a walk and get breakfast if it's early in the day, or - if it's almost bedtime, wind down with a well earned nightcap. This is a holiday isn't it?!

SHE has her own tip... and it's called Melatonin. You can buy this natural product from a healthfood store. Of course you should follow the advice and instructions of your healthcare professional folks, but SHE's been using this for years now and it's been a relief to know that you don't lose a day or more trying to recover from a long trip.

Travelling is a great adventure and worth every minute. A little preparation can go a long way to making your journey a whole lot less stressful. Good luck and remember...'the only way is up'!