Lonely Planet Writer

How a power nap could help fight jet lag

Did you know that a 30-minute power nap after a flight can help to ease jet lag without interrupting your new night-time pattern? That’s according to a guide published by global flight search and travel deals website Cheapflights, which has published a guide to help after discovering that almost 70% of the 2000 UK travellers it surveyed had suffered jet lag.

A power nap after a long-haul flight could help to fight jet lag. Image: PeopleImages

The survey revealed that travellers need an average of 17 hours and 34 minutes to recover from a long haul trip, with more than half taking up to two days off work to readjust to their home time zone. “Given many of our favourite long-haul holiday destinations lie more than five time zone changes away, jet lag remains as much a part of any holiday as suntans and strange souvenirs,” says a Cheapflights’ spokesperson. “There’s some easy ways to ease the effects of jet lag and help you adjust when you land in your destination and when you return home.”

A power nap after a long-haul flight could help to fight jet lag. Image: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

Cheapflight’s Jet Lag Beating Tips

Before the flight

  1. Plan your route. Holidaying somewhere in the same time zone or flying westward reduces your chances of suffering jet lag.
  2. Squeeze in a stopover. Breaking up long flights will let you explore somewhere new as well as help your body adjust to changing time zones. A stop in the Far East en route to Australia is the perfect example.
  3. Adjust your daily schedule a few days before jetting off to help your body adjust to different times. Slight alterations to your wake up and meal times – even your exercise routines – will help ease the changes to your body rhythms.

During the flight

  1. Set your clock to your destination time as soon as the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign goes on. Trick your mind into thinking you’re already on that time, and your body’s systems will start to adjust.
  2. Stay hydrated. Don’t be tempted to enjoy too many alcoholic drinks on board and stick to water. H20 helps balance out the dehydration which may be caused by lack of humidity in the cabin during the flight.
  3. Eat smart. Choose a carb-rich meal option to aid sleep on a night flight or a protein-rich choice to stay awake.
  4. Boost your chances of an undisturbed slumber. Eyeshades, noise-cancelling earphones, pillow and blankets will help you get to sleep, while switching off your overhead light and TV screen will minimise blue light.

After the flight

  1. Have a power nap. Just 30 minutes after your flight can ease fatigue but shouldn’t interrupt your new night-time pattern. Ensure you have an ‘anchor sleep’ on your first night – at least four hours during local night-time – as this helps reset your body.
  2. If you’re not feeling fatigued or have enjoyed a quick power nap, get moving. Plunge into the pool, eat, drink water, sightsee, hit the gym – whatever the local time suggests – to help ease the transition to your new time zone.
  3. Back home? Get into the groove of ‘normality.’ Sadly, sticking to holiday regimes and times back home will only prolong jet lag, so the sooner you return to your routine, the sooner your body will adjust.