Flying long-haul from Stansted
- 8 tips to reduce the effects of jet lag by Paula Garrett
Stansted Airport is the UK's
third busiest airport handling 24 million passengers a year flying to more
than 160 destinations worldwide. The increasing number of destinations
offered at Stansted airport has led to more and more travellers venturing
further a field and, whether you are flying for business or pleasure, long-haul
flying and jet lag often go hand in hand.
lag occurs when the body's rhythms are out of sync with your destination
time - the body operates on a 24-hour cycle, and travelling to a different
time zone alters the body's natural rhythm causing jet lag. The more time
zones you cross the worse it can be - travelling east has a greater affect
on jet lag than travelling west. It is easier on the body's biorhythms
to add a few extra hours to the day, as in travelling west, than reducing
the number of hours in a day when travelling east. The speed with which
your body can realign itself to your new time zone, adjusting its body
rhythm to daylight, darkness, eating and sleeping in the new time zone,
affects the length of time you experience jet lag for.
Jet lag can cause any
or all of the following symptoms:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Swollen hands and feet
- Digestive problems
- Irritability or anxiety
- Lack of concentration
- Loss of appetite and nausea
It is often thought that
it takes a day to recover for each time zone travelled through- this is
great news for travellers on a week's holiday or a business traveller on
a three day conference halfway across the world!
|So what can you do to minimise
the affects of jet lag? The following tips are designed to help you avoid
the worst of jet lag and realign your body clock as soon as possible.
1. Drink plenty of water,
avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Water is best but, if you find drinking
large amounts of water difficult or just plain boring, fruit juice and
herbal teas will do.
2. If you are due to land
in the morning at your destination, try to sleep during the flight. Sleeping
on board a plane in cramped conditions isn't easy but take off your shoes
and try to get comfortable. An eye mask and ear plugs with help block out
cabin distractions and a blow up neck rest should add to your comfort.
Even if you are unable to sleep throughout the flight, just try to rest,
close your eyes and try to 'switch off'.
3. If you are due to land
at night, try to stay awake throughout the flight. Read a book, listen
to some music but try to resist sleeping as this will mean you will be
unable to sleep destination time and take longer for your body clock to
4. Set your watch to your
destination time as soon as you get on the plane and try to live by it
straight away. Try to eat at times appropriate to your destination time
not departure time.
5. Some people reduce the
impact of time zone changes by gradually adapting their routine by an hour
or so a few days before they travel. By getting up an hour earlier or staying
up later for a few days prior to departure depending on their destination
6. If you arrive in the daytime,
try to avoid the temptation to sleep, get outside in the sunshine - daylight,
or any light, is a major factor in resetting your internal clock. If you
are exhausted and have to sleep try to limit a nap to one hour - set an
alarm clock or your mobile phone to wake you.
7. If you arrive at night
and don't feel sleepy, try a warm bath and a glass of warm milk - a natural
8. Resist the urge to party
all night for the first couple days and get a couple of good night's sleep.
This should help you adjust your body clock to your destination time and
make for a more enjoyable stay.
There is no miracle cure
for jet lag, but by following the above tips you should minimise its effects.
About the Author - Paula
Garrett is a contributor to the Stansted
airport information website which offers up-to-date travel information,
advice and further health tips for air travellers.