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Air travel – 10 tips to beat jet lag

jet lagThe long awaited holidays have finally arrived and you have just landed in Europe. You are trying to look glamorous posing in front of the Eiffel Tower when all you want to do is go to bed. Travelling and jet lag can do this to you and occurs when your body clock lags behind (or ahead) of your local time. 

Being able to travel around the world by plane is extremely convenient but is often associated with jet lag. That tired, exhausted feeling combined with clumsiness and impaired judgement.

Jet lag occurs when you cross time zones, especially when travelling in an easterly direction. The reason for jet lag is that our body follows a 24-hour routine known as the circadian rhythm. Our body temperature drops at night which helps us to sleep. We urinate more during the day and hormones fluctuate according to the time within the 24-hour cycle. As you can imagine, the body gets very confused when you cross several time zones in just a few hours and responds with jet lag.

What to do

Jet lag remedies are like bad jokes: everyone has one. The following recommendations are sourced from Mim Beim’s Natural Remedies:  An A-Z of cures for health and wellbeing

1. As soon as you embark, adjust your watch to the time of your destination. This will give your brain, at least, the heads up about the new time zones, allowing your body to catch up a little quicker.

2.Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes that allow you to stretch and exercise.

3. Avoid large, rich and spicy meals, sticking to salads and lighter snacks. Requesting a vegetarian meal will get you served first and is often of superior quality.

4. Eat according to your destination’s time zone. Breakfast at their breakfast time. If you are not hungry, miss a meal.

5. Drink 200ml of water every hour to avoid dehydration and no more than a glass of wine with dinner.

6. An hour before bedtime of your destination – take a herbal sleeping supplement such as passionflower, hops and chamomile. Another option is Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, which helps to balance out our circadian rhythms. Homeopathic melatonin is available from health food shops, otherwise you will have to see a doctor for a script.

7. In the morning, take some energy herbs such as Siberian or Korean ginseng or gotu kola.

8. To help avoid deep vein thrombosis, take vitamin E or gingko biloba and keep up those leg exercises.

9. Sitting in a crowded plane increases your chance of catching a cold. To prevent this from happening take echinacea and probiotics for a week before as well as during your flight.

10. When you finally arrive at your destination in the daytime, exercise for 20 – 40 minutes, preferably in the sunshine. If it is night time when you arrive, take a warm bath with lavender oil.

I hope these tips will make your next trip more enjoyable. Bon voyage.

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