Dealing with Jet Lag

Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Blog | 1 comment

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Despite the increase in availability and ease of electronic communication, more and more business leaders and managers are travelling to events around the globe.

I’ve been an international speaker for over 15 years, and I’ve discovered that there are some things that business people and sports people – even tourists – can do to avoid Jet lag and poor performance caused by extensive air travel.

Here are a couple of ideas….

1. Mental Set.
 Approach the journey in a professional manner.
 Accept the fact that travel and accommodation will seldom be ideal.
 Avoid as many problems as possible. Ensure that your luggage is clearly labelled with all your correct contact details.
 Don’t allow yourself to get upset about minor happenings that are outside of your control. Problems are seldom solved by overreacting.

2. Preliminary Considerations.
 Keep important goods (presentation material, laptop etc) with you in case your luggage gets lost.
 Make the journey as comfortable as possible.
 Board the plane early when there is more overhead storage space.
 Sit closer to the front of the plane, as there is less engine noise.
 Move about in the plane and use stopovers to get some exercise.

3. Dealing with Jet Lag.
When you travel by jet across several time zones, you may need a few days to adjust to the local time. Till then, you may experience fatigue, insomnia, and even nausea. Because jet lag is known to slow one’s thinking, many business people try to arrive at least one day before important meetings. Experienced travellers find that jet lag is more severe when travelling from west to east than vice versa. This is because it is harder to speed up your body’s daily rhythms (to make up for time you “lose” when you travel from west to east) than it is to slow them down (to adjust to the time you “gain” when going from east to west). No matter which direction you are travelling, there are steps you can take to help minimize the effects of jet lag:

 As soon as you start your trip, try to adjust to the waking and sleeping schedule of your destination. If you are flying west to east, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and try to sleep on the plane. If you are travelling east to west, drink coffee, tea and exercise by walking up and down the aisles.
 Once you’ve landed, follow the mealtimes of your new location. Remember, what you eat can retard or accelerate your adjustment. Foods rich in protein, such as fish and chicken, will help keep you awake. To help you sleep, eat foods rich in carbohydrates such as bread or pasta.
 Recent studies show that outdoor light can have a powerful effect on sleeping and waking schedules. By spending parts of the first few days of your trip in outdoor light, you can help speed your adjustment to the new time zone.
 It is useful to take along a cassette / CD player with headphones for the flight.
 Dry air in the cabin can lead to headaches and dehydration, and it is therefore important to drink lots of liquids. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided however.

4. Dealing with Insomnia when abroad.
 Lie down only when sleepy
 Avoid watching TV in the sleeping area
 Leave the sleep area if you can’t sleep
 Get up at the same time every day
 Avoid napping during the day.

1 Comment

  1. I suffer badly from jetlag, till I was introduced to Melatonin. It changed everything! Not one day lost due to jetlag where-as I used to lose 10 days after a trip. No side effects either. It’s a life-saver and all herbal.

    Veronique Palmer

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