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It is not possible to prevent jet lag entirely, but there are a number of steps which can be taken to reduce the intensity of jet lag. Most techniques for avoiding jet lag involve taking good care of your body, as it is easier to adjust to a new location and time zone when one feels fit and healthy. People also tend to respond differently to various jet lag remedies, so something which works well for one person may not be as effective for another. Regular travelers often create their own regimens to prevent jet lag, based on their experiences.
If you are able to do so, one of the best ways to prevent jet lag is to slowly adjust your sleeping and waking schedule over the few days prior to your departure. By adjusting your schedule by an hour or so a day, you can ease into the shock of a new environment. It is also a good idea to get plenty of rest before leaving, and to eat well. Staying hydrated is also crucial, as the air in a plane can be very dehydrating, and this can make jet lag feel even worse.
Once you board a plane to your destination, set your watch to the local time at your destination, to start getting into the rhythm of things. On a long flight, make sure that you sleep during the night hours at your destination, and stay awake during the daytime hours. Drink lots of water, pack familiar snacks, and move around and exercise as much as possible to stay alert and to keep your body stretched. If you have a long layover and showers are available, take one; long haul pilots say that showering partway through a grueling trip can be refreshing and can help to offset the effects of jet lag.
Once you arrive at your destination, try to get your body running on local time as quickly as possible. If you arrive at night, take a warm shower and try to get a few hours of sleep before going out. If you arrive during the day, take a cool shower to wake yourself up, eat a small meal, and get active; go for a walk or visit a museum to stretch out and wake up after the flight. It also helps to have nothing scheduled for one or two days after arrival at a faraway location, to give yourself time to adjust without pressure.
Supposedly, flying East to West is easier than flying West to East, although jet lag is unfortunately inevitable on extremely long flights. By staying well rested, fed, and stretched, you can offset some of the more severe symptoms of jet lag. Ultimately, it is also a good idea to listen to your body if you want to prevent jet lag. If you're tired, rest, and if you're alert at strange hours, do something to calm yourself down like drinking a warm beverage, reading, or meditating.
Of course, there is one excellent way to prevent jet lag, for those who have the time: take a boat. A boat journey gives travelers several days to slowly adjust as they cross time zones, and it can be a fun trip, as well.
I love this article and yes, I bet we all wish we could take a boat rather than fly! I hate flying and the fear of flying just keeps geting worse. The pressure of saving some cash and the low cost airlines though is almost too alluring. I have found for me that flying West is the easiest. I have actually heard and read many articles that profess both ways, so I don't really know. However, the reason West is easiest for me is that it is much easier for me to stay up a few hours to try and regulate my body clock rather than force myself to sleep early. But that's just me. I also use a supplement
(cheating I know) to help initate sleep on the plane as the journey can be horrid for long haul flights. I use a premium supplement called RevitaJet. It's a malatonin based product which does actually regulate my body when I get to my destination/s. Also, it's not a sleeping pill! Big bonus, so you don't feel groggy when you wake up.
Also, lastly my tip for trying to try and get some sleep on the plane for long haul flights. Whatever you do, don't order a 'special meal' as if you have managed to get to sleep (and it helps with the jet lag) the staff will wake you up so you get your 'special meal'. Often people eat on the plane for the hell of it, so if you're not hungry and you're asleep, the flight will feed you in a few hours anyway.
Also, airlines, for example, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airlines: if you're a cheeky customer, ask the hostess if she could possibly not wake you up if you fall asleep on the plane when they are serving food. What happens is that the hostess can put a marker on the back of your chair, usually in the form of a sticker. Sometimes it's better to use premium airlines like Sinapore because you know they will do that little bit extra so you will have a good flight. In the low cost airlines, you pretty much pay for all services. Just something to think about when booking :-).
I've also heard that that flying East to West is easier to handle than West to East. For me though, I find the opposite to be true. I think this might be because I live in the West though and generally am excited to arrive at my destination which is usually in the East. And while it's nice to come back home, it only means time to get back to work so I guess I'm not all that excited to re-acclimate to the old time!