5 Simple Pre-Flight Tips to Avoid Jetlag

Most travellers try to make the most of their time when abroad, yet fail to consider the leap in time zones in a matter of a couple-of-hours-long flight. It usually takes several days for your body to be able to adjust to the new time zone.

Symptoms of jetlag include insomnia at night, drowsiness during the day, confusion, poor concentration and feeling hungry at inappropriate times of the day. To avoid experiencing all these, here are some pre-flight tips to prepare your mind and body for your upcoming overseas trip.

1. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration and disrupt sleep patterns. During the flight and a day before and after the flight, avoiding alcohol and caffeine will lessen chances of disturbed sleep when you do sleep.

2. Try to Sleep on the Plane
This is very important when flying overnight or from east to west. Long-haul flights are extremely tiring, and the more rest you get en route the more you’ll be prepared to deal with jetlag. If boarding a very long flight—say, Singapore to Europe—consider using up your flier miles points to upgrade to first class or business class for a more comfortable trip.

3. Pick an Overnight Flight
Overnight flights are beneficial to long-haul flights, because you’re more likely to sleep compared to an afternoon flight. Moreover, depending on the hours of travel, you’ll likely arrive at your destination either morning or afternoon. These are an ideal arrival time to replicate your normal schedule and a much easier way to reset your bio-clock.

4. Eat Light Before and During the Flight
Most flyers eat their food on the plane not because they are hungry; they do it because they are bored. The pressurized environment and forced immobility can have negative effects on your system, and eating healthier snacks can keep you feeling light and energized throughout the flight, especially if you’re munching on foods rich in water—think of celery and apples.

5. Try Melatonin
Consider taking melatonin—a non-prescription drug—hours before boarding a long-haul flight. Research says that the human body uses this hormone to set its bio-clock. Because melatonin shows control over our body’s rhythm of going to sleep and waking up, a number of experts recommend this to alleviate jetlag. You can also take this before going to bed for a few days after arrival in the new time zone to ease transition.

Be realistic with your trip. If you feel a bit ‘off’ in the first few days after arrival, even if you’ve done everything on this list, recognize that it is what it is—a jetlag—and keep hydrating yourself with water, eat healthy and more walking to energize your body and promote healthy blood flow.