Passengers travelling to a destination several time zones away, will probably experience jet lag, as the body’s internal circadian clock is only able to reset itself at a rate of about 1 hour per day. In most people, the circadian cycle tends to be slightly longer than 24 hours. Hence, most people have fewer problems with westward travel (lengthening day) than eastward travel (shortening day). The most common symptoms of jet lag are fatigue, headaches, insomnia and appetite problems.
There is no cure for jet lag, but we recommend that you try the following to minimise its effects:
- Jet lag can be worsened by insufficient sleep before the journey, therefore it is important to try and get a good night’s rest before your flight.
- If you are on a very short trip (48 hours or less), you may find it more convenient to remain on home time, rather than trying to adjust to local time.
- Eat light meals at the local meal times.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks for 4 hours and alcohol for 2 hours before going to bed to prevent interrupted sleep.
- Try to sleep at the local night time and only have short naps during the day if you are tired.
- For westward travel, late evening exposure to bright light helps delay the onset of sleepiness.
- For eastward travel, early morning exposure to light helps promote sleepiness in the late evening.