How to Fight Jet Lag
One of the biggest downsides to traveling far distances is the inevitable jet lag. When going through a time change of more than a couple hours, (especially major changes of 7+ hours), your body's internal clock may say it's time to sleep, when it's day time at your destination. This often leads the star of a trip to be somewhat unpleasant and even stressful, but there are ways you can fight this.
A couple of days ago my mother sent me an article about how to fight jet leg by fasting (more on this later). I personally have never tried that, but figured I'd share my experience in dealing with jet lag and how you can overcome it quicker for an easier adjustment on your next trip. Here are a few things I like to do:
1. Choosing a Good Departure Time
This one can be tricky, as you often only have a couple of options as to what time your flight leaves. However, If you can choose a flight that departs in the evening/night of the time zone you will soon be in, it can greatly help you adjust. For example, if you live in London and are flying to Hong Kong, (a time difference of 8 hours), you may want to cho0se a flight that departs at a time that would be in the evening/night for those in Hong Kong. That way you can sleep on the flight and start getting used to the time change before you even arrive.
2. Sleeping Pills
It can be very challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep on a long flight. Many take sleeping pills and other aids to try and catch some shut eye. If you're going to take this route make sure to not take anything before the plane departs (you don't want to take a sleeping pill only to find out there's a three-hour delay and you must de-plane). A couple of months ago I flew from Shanghai to Dallas, just over a 13-hour flight. To add to what was already a flight on the longer side, I was in a middle seat. To help shorten the flight, I decided to take a sleep aid for the first time (Benadryl). Not normally considered to be a sleeping aid but this allergy medication always knocks me out and it's what i had on hand. I managed to sleep for nearly nine hours straight which made the flight very pleasant actually.
3. Picking The Right Kind of Seat
In the past, many blogs have mentioned the importance of flying business class if you want to remain rested. That notion always irritated me because most people can't afford to spend thousands of dollar more a person to do this. While upgrading to premium classes can defiantly improve you sleep, this is a good way to enhance comfort without the hefty price tag. Choosing the right type of seat can be very beneficial. I don't just mean aisle or window, but the actual dimensions of the seat can play a big role.
Before you chose what airline to fly on, (and only if the prices are similar), check SeatGuru to find the seat dimensions. While most economy seats have around 30-32 inches of pitch, such as the Delta A330 below, others have more.
This Singapore Airlines 777-200 has an extra couple inches of seat recline.
By using any one of these techniques, or combining a few of them, you can often greatly reduce the impact of jet lag on your next trip. If you'd like to read more about another cool way to beat jet lag through fasting, (the article I mentioned earlier), click here!