Working in the aviation industry you are bound to have had more than a few issues with jet lag in the past, especially if you work long haul and are pretty new to the job.
Jet lag can make you feel really rubbish – you get tired, feel ill and can get pretty spaced out by the whole thing which is the last thing you want when your next flight is just a couple of days away. So why does jet lag actually occur and what can you do to stop it?
Jet lag occurs when your body clock misses a few ticks. Basically if your sleep cycle becomes disrupted or altered your body doesn’t know what on earth is going on and it wants you to stop messing around with it. Your body clock isn’t just driven by sleep though - it is also driven by temperature and light.
So actually you can get the same jet lag symptoms without ever having stepped foot on a plane. Anyone who works irregular hours or spends a lot of time around artificial lighting may find it plays havoc with the old body clock.
So if you find yourself suffering from the effects of jet lag, what can you do about it?
One idea on the market at the moment is to use relaxing exercise such as yoga
to help your body to control itself and calm down your nervous system. The idea is that before going on a long flight you ‘up’ the exercise plan to a daily routine which will align your body and help prepare it for flying.
When you land from your flight you need to get into the swing of your new time zone straight away. Now this is key, even if you are incredibly tired when you land try to avoid having a nap – even if it’s just a small one. The quickest way to get into the flow of a different time zone is to power on through until about 10pm local time and then sleep for eight hours as you would do at home.
The same goes when you land upon your return – if you don’t do this you will find the jetlag takes a lot longer to get rid of and you will feel drained and rubbish for days on end.
Now mid-flight we appreciate that you are bound to be running around like crazy but try and drink as much water as you possibly can – the altitude of flying messes with your body so staying well hydrated will help to keep you awake and fight those nasty post-flight headaches.