My first solo international trip took me from Mumbai to Paris to Seattle to Honolulu – my final destination. I was traveling to Hawaii, to attend my boss’s wedding, and took the 28-hour journey (layovers included), to spend only three nights at the destination, till I had to make my way back home.
Thanks to my excitement, I was able to sustain myself during the trip to Hawaii, but on my way back, I was drained and a complete mess, because I did not give my body enough time to adjust to the many time zones that I had put it through.
I remember on my first leg of the journey, from San Francisco to Paris, I fell asleep with my mouth open and then gave out such a loud snore, that the flight attendant had to shake me awake, just to see if I was feeling ok.
I realized the importance of properly resting my body and factoring in the time zone difference more seriously, when I landed back home and slept for eighteen-hours straight. My body felt bloated and swollen, my eyes were puffed and my whole body-clock had gone for a toss.
Re-setting Sleep is Important
This is the reason why, when my niece moved back from New York to India and requested her new office to give her an additional week to recuperate from jetlag, I completely supported her. The office was not willing to give her the extra week, but she managed to convince them, using my past experience as an example.
One of the best ways to avoid jetlag (if that’s a thing!), is to simulate your new routine, a day or two in advance. It’s more like preparing your body clock to align with the destination that you are going to arrive at.
If this means putting yourself to sleep, the minute you board your flight – do that! Drink a (little) bit of alcohol if that helps you to fall asleep sooner. Just don’t overdo it, because dealing with a dry mouth and dehydration mid-flight is not what we are looking for.
Twenty-four Hours Per Time Zone
It takes about twenty-four hours per time zone for your body to recover from jetlag. On an average, that will be anywhere from three to five days. Look a little deeper into the make of your aircraft, as A350s and A380s are the best flights to take. They integrate hi-tech humidification systems, which help the air in the cabin to retain moisture.
The LED lighting systems in such sophisticated aircrafts have the capability to create 16.7 million shades of color, to simulate natural phases of the day. This goes to help in aligning your body to the destination’s time zone. Such planes also boast of an air purification system that renews the air every two minutes.
Caffeine Addicts, Please Ditch the Coffee
Energy drinks, coffee and tea are avoidable, although you may request for some green tea, if the crew is serving some. The caffeine and other stimulants in drinks hamper your sleep cycle and increase the jetlag duration.
I typically end up sipping warm water every time I feel the urge to drink some coffee. Warm water also helps to move your bowels and relieves you from gas. It aids digestion and helps you feel light. If you find it hard to sip on warm water, then the next best thing you can have is green tea.
While most of the tips that you see here are things to do when on flight. However, there are several things you can do for yourself, once you get home. A relaxing bath with bathing salts is one of them. The best tip however, is to get a ‘jetlag’ deep tissue massage, that will help you overcome the stress and bane of traveling.