13 JAN 2015 - BY JOSEPH TYSON
Unfortunately, jet lag is natural and occurs due to your body becoming disorientated after travelling long distances. That said, there are certain precautions you can take to prepare for it and even cope with it after the flight.
Here are our top ten suggestions for dealing with long-haul jet lag, so your holiday fun can start when you want it to.
A few nights before you fly, begin to change your daily routine to prepare your body internally.
If you are flying east, start going to bed earlier, by around 30 minutes each night. For travel west, to do the same but go to bed later.
If it is possible, book your flight with a stopover in between home and your final destination. This break from travelling will give your body a chance to adjust to the new time difference, so it doesn't all come as one big shock when you land at the other end.
For times when you only have a couple of hours to kill, take advantage of your surroundings. Get some water to hydrate and take a shower if there are any bathroom facilities available.
Top up on your sleep leading up to your flight. You want to be fully rested before the long journey. If possible, arrange an overnight flight so that you can naturally go to sleep on the plane.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol if you are intending to sleep on the flight, these stimulants will only make it harder for you to get a good, healthy period of sleep.
The golden rule of air travel - stay hydrated! Not only is this important for your general wellbeing on a long-haul flight, it can also help you combat jet lag. Feeling dehydrated will only intensify the jet lag process so ensuring you are drinking plenty of fluids is your best bet for avoiding it at the other end.
Try and get yourself in a position where your body feels as if it is night, even if the sun is shining outside. If the plane doesn't shut off the lights, buy an eye mask and some ear plugs as this will help you relax.
Just like darkness will help you sleep on the plane, the exposure to light will help you acclimatise to the time zone when you land
It can be tempting to head straight for a nap when you get to the hotel, but hopefully if you've rested well on the plane, you'll be feeling good enough to get out and explore - just remember your sunscreen!
If you are travelling great distances for business and need to be ready to nail a big presentation when you land, you may wish to consider getting there a few days earlier. That way you can make sure you are completely rested and that jet lag won't throw you off your A Game.
The NHS suggests that you need to try and get as much normal sleep over a 24 hour period as you normally would. The minimum of a four hour block of sleep - or anchor sleep - is said to be needed to help you adjust to a new time zone.
Any trips shorter than four days won't really allow you to fully adjust to a new time zone, so it is advisable to just stick to your home time routine. This means sleeping and eating at the same times you would if you were back in your own country.
The only issue with this is that it can be very inconvenient in terms of doing activities. Chances are that you will be going away for much longer if you are taking a long-haul flight, but it is something to consider for shorter stays.
Some people really do not like the idea of being on a plane for ten-plus hours, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare! Take advantage of the entertainment provided by the airline and just try to relax yourself. If you get stressed and worked up, you'll find it much harder to sleep which will in turn make your jet lag worse.
Just think of the flight as another part of your holiday and enjoy it!