Updated: Feb 19
As the winter season is now off for more than a month in courchevel, i started my off season work. Working internationally involves a lot of air travel, and therefore being jetlag. I had a really intense agenda the last couple of weeks, keeping crossing time zone east to west and west to east in a short period of time, i had sometime a 6 hours time difference. I flew all over the place for my clientele doing osteopathy and physiotherapy.
As the holliday season is coming and you might fly long hours across the globe, I ll tell you in this post what is jetlag, how to reduce it. And some tips on air travel as comfort is the key to fight jetlag.
What is jetlag ?
It's a temporary disorder that induces fatigue, insomnia and other symptoms as a result of time zone crossing. It's a disorder of your body clock which looses the synchronisation of the circadian rhythm. The more you cross time zone, the worst is the jetlag.
The list is quite long and there are numerous of physical and psychological symptoms. The main ones are insomnia and fatigue but you can add memory loss, constipation, dizziness, the need to sleep during day time, sweating, headache, trouble to focus, confusion, dehydration and so on.
Increasing the symptoms ?
As i wrote above the more you cross time zone, the worst the jetlag. It is admitted than under 2 or 3 hours time difference your body can cope without any problems. Above, the symptoms once after arrival are more likely to be severe. If you fly east, jetlag is worse as you are "loosing" hours. Flying west makes things easier. Age is an issue babies and kids as well as elderly are more likely to suffer the most from jetlag. Frequent travelers, air crew have more problems to adjust as well. Alcohol use during the flight is also a worsen factor, poor comfort inflight, monotony as well. Air pressure and relative altitude.
How to avoid or reduce jetlag ?
Working as a physiotherapist and osteopath worldwide after my season in courchevel, i have to be the best i can to perform well with people who fly me across the globe. Here are the tricks i found.
Reset you brain : an easy way is a few day before your flight is to try to match your new time zone, you can go to bed early or wake up early doing so an hour or two helps a lot.
Stick to a loyalty program (i.e skyteam , oneworld etc). If you fly a lot you can earn miles to fly for your holiday for a penny but you can upgrade status. In my case i upgraded recently on skyteam airlines network, and it save a lot of energy, priority check in, boarding, lounges, the best seats are usualy booked for you. Traveling with my portable massage table to work as an osteopath physio worldwide being upgraded gives me the opportunity to check in my table plus my luggage for free and get free assistance a big plus on long flight and money saver.
Know the plane you are flying in, for exemple on airbus A320 best seats are on the wings where you have more space for your legs therefore a more comfortable flight, Boieing 737 777 has the best seats at the back of the aircraft 2 row seats.
Dont eat in the plane if you can, on 16 hours flight it has been proven that fasting helps you to reduce jetlag.
Disconnect in whilst in the air, I know it's cool to enjoy your inflight entertainment system. But the blue light of your screen will mess up your brain, telling him that it's daylight. Enjoy the darkness of the cabin to sleep or read a book, enjoy your favorite tunes.
Immerse yourself in the sun on arrival, go for a walk. Sun light exposure for your eyes stops the production of melatonin. Melatonin is produced at night when there is no more sun light. So expose yourself to the sun.
Weirdly cherry juice helps you to recover faster a uk based medical study says.
Exercise once you hit your hotel or go for a run, it promotes awareness during the day.
Try if possible not to sleep during the day and fight for that need of a nap. Synchronise your meals with local time.
Dress for your destination, i had a flight in late april where i had to go working as a physio osteopath in Dubai. France was dam cold but i took my plane in summer clothes and felt really comfy upon arrival and adapted.
During extra long flights try to do stop over if possible, especially if you are crossing more than 8 time zones.
The craziest tip i had from a hard core frequent flyer that actually work, is to rub a bit of sesame oil onto the sole of your feet and wear socks during the flight. No idea how does it work, but it does.
I m a coffee lover, play with it !!!! avoid it during night and enjoy it during day time at your destination.
Take melatonin tablets to synchronise your brain with night time. Melatonin triggers sleep, it's advised to use it if you are crossing more than 5 time zones and if you are traveling east, and no more than 3 nights. In any case ask your doctor before taking it.
i have a 1,5 break now on the islands of the gods and my massage table is stored in its plan travel bag, waiting for the next job, i m gonna fly north crossing one time zone this time for the next job in osteopathy and physiotherapy.
Buckle up your seat belt and enjoy the flight !