Flying into the city that never sleeps with a terrible case of jetlag is no-one’s idea of a wonderful start to that much anticipated holiday. But, with a little bit of planning and discipline, you can help your body fight jetlag so that you can enjoy you New York adventures sooner after landing.
There are multiple elements in an international flight that work against your body. Cabin pressure has been shown to have similar affects on the body as altitude, making you dehydrate quicker. Add that to interrupted sleep, change in time zones, lower humidity that dehydrates you, less oxygen and more carbon dioxin, and you have yourself a reliable cocktail for jetlag.
Here are some well-tested anti-jetlag tips to try before, during and after that long-haul flight:
This number one rule to beat jetlag isn’t as simple as drinking more water. Topping up those lost minerals is also key to make sure you don’t dehydrate. Instead of just water, try also drinking electrolyte-containing sports drinks, coconut water or tomato juice before and during your flight. Making sure you actively hydrate your body up to two days before you leave, a couple of times every hour during your flights, and in the days after you land, is a great way to manage jetlag. Also, to top up your sodium levels during the flight and encourage hydration, snack on pretzels and salted nuts, and add a little salt to your meal.
Making sure you are well rested and sleeping at the right times is another great way to ready your body for a changed time-zone and environment, and lessen the impact of jetlag. Although there is lots to do before an international trip, make sure you have a good night sleep in the days before your flight, even adding a few extra hours to your normal sleeping times. Once in the air, set your watch to destination time and sleep during the ‘night’ using earplugs and an eye mask to ignore activity around you. When you arrive, be sure to stay awake during the daylight hours if you can, and adjust your sleeping and waking patterns to fit in with the locals. If you do need to nap during your New York day, aim for cats naps of 30 minutes, which will leave your body feeling refreshed, rather than more confused.
Light exercise is useful to give your body energy and keep it moving properly after such a long time sitting in a plane. Doing some light exercise in the days leading up to and after a flight can help your body beat that jetlag feeling, giving you a natural happy buzz to counteract the effects of flying. While you are on the plane, it is also strongly recommended to walk around the cabin frequently to keep your blood moving about properly.
Once you’ve got yourself doing all the right things to fight jetlag, it’s also important to avoid the wrong things, which can make jetlag so much worse. For example, drinking alcohol and caffeine during the flight or the days before and after can dehydrate you even more. Eating heavy, unusual or spicy meals before or during a flight can also put more pressure on your confused body clock.
A long-haul flight can leave you feeling exhausted as you head to one of the welcoming apartments in New York for a much needed rest, but make sure you follow these simple steps to get the most out of your city experience.