How to stop jet lag from ruining your holiday

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Don't waste a day of your precious holiday time battling jet lag. Follow our fool proof plan to switching time zones.

Plane in the sky
You've touched down in a fabulous location, with a suitcase full of amazing outfits and a non-stop itinerary of activities. The last thing you want to feel is sluggish, tired and groggy from your flight.

Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, is a temporary disorder that's caused by air travel across time zones. Your internal body clock is disrupted, meaning you find it hard to sleep at night time in your new destination.

In addition to fatigue and insomnia, you may also experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms including anxiety, constipation, dehydration, headaches, nausea, dizziness and even memory loss.

The good news is that making a few adjustments to your sleeping patterns can help you avoid all this. We spoke to Dr Guy Meadows, a sleep expert, author, and consultant doctor on C4's Bedtime Live, who shared his tips for avoiding jet lag.

How to avoid jet lag

woman asleep with alarm clock

1. Set the clock

Work out what the time will be in your destination and start preparing your body clock a week in advance, recommends Guy.

This means going to bed and getting up an hour earlier (or later, depending which direction you're flying) a few days prior to travelling. "When you arrive at your destination your body clock will already be synced to the local time."

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2. Set your watch

A little bit of simple psychology can help with jet lag. "It sounds obvious, but when you get on the plane set your watch to the local time to start preparing your brain for the time change," says Guy.

Woman sleeping happy in bed

3. To sleep or not to sleep

"If you are arriving at your destination in the afternoon or evening, try to stay awake on the plane so you're are ready for the local bedtime on landing," says Guy.

"Alternatively, if you are arriving in the morning, aim to sleep on the plane to be ready for the day ahead."

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4. Tune in to the local time

Adjust your body clock to the local time zone by immediately getting out into the sunlight, eating, working, socialising and sleeping all on the local time, recommends Guy.

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5. Arrive healthy

The healthier you can be on your flight, the easier it will be for your body to overcome jet lag.

Guy recommends staying hydrated, eating healthy food options, and limiting caffeine and alcohol. Regular stretching during the journey and after arriving at your destination can also help.

Dr Guy Meadows is the author of The Sleep Book – How to Sleep Well Every Night, (Orion £9.99). His Sleep School Sleep App is available on iphone and ipad at iTunes (£2.99).



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