“You will only be on this holiday once so make the most of it…”
For everyone nipping abroad for the last few days of summer sun, Dr Guys Meadows from Bensons for Beds offers travellers his advice on how to get over jetlag this holiday season.
Limit your jetlag. Jet lag occurs when you travel quickly across more than two times zones, leading to the confusion between your internal body clock and the local time. It’s especially worse when you travel eastwards because we lose time. Prepare your body clock by going to bed and getting up an hour earlier each day for a few days prior to travelling east. For example, if your normal sleeping pattern is 11pm to 7am, and for three days you advance it by 1 hour, on your last night before travel you will go to bed at 8pm and get up at 4am the next morning. Doing so will mean that you reduce the time differential between the local time and your internal body clock, thus reducing the impact of jet lag.
Prepare for your flight. Getting everything organised the day before your departure can help to calm a racing mind and promote a better night’s sleep. Exercising before going on a long flight can also promote sleep and relieve travel anxiety.
Set your watch. When you get on the plane set your watch to the local time to start preparing your brain for the time change.
To sleep or not to sleep. If you’re arriving at your destination in the afternoon or evening, make sure you stay awake on the plane so that you are ready for the local bedtime on landing. Alternatively, if you are arriving in the morning, aim to sleep on the plane to be ready for the day ahead.
Sleeping on the plane. If you find sleeping on planes a challenge then come prepared with your own ear plugs, eye mask, neck rest, comfortable clothes and blanket. The more comfortable you can be the greater chance of you actually sleeping.
Body scan. Scanning your body from head to toe is a great way to manage travel anxiety. Make time to describe every detail of your body in a objective manner such “I can feel my toes touching the floor, the beat of my heart, the seat on my back, the movement of my breath and so on”. When your thinking-mind starts to race with worries, gently acknowledge them and let them go by returning back to your body.
Arrive healthy. The healthier you can be on your flight, the more energy you will have when you arrive and the quicker you’ll recover from jetlag. Stay hydrated, eat healthy food options, limit caffeine and alcohol, do regular stretches, get up and walk about and wear comfortable clothing.
Tune in to the local time. Adjust your body clock to the local time zone by immediately getting out into the sunlight, eating, working, socialising and sleeping all on the local time. Avoid the temptation
Make the most of the rest. If sleep does not come straight away, then seek solace in the beneficial rest that you get from simply lying in bed calm and relaxed. Take a moment to notice the comfort of your bed, the warmth of your body, the movement of your breath and gentle goings on of your mind.
The time is now. Make time to be in the present moment while on holiday, rather worrying about the past or imagining the future. You will only be on this holiday once and so make the most of it by indulging in your senses. Notice the warmth of the sand between your toes, the taste of your food, the smell of the flowers, the sight of a sunset or the sound of bird song. If your worries come rushing in, welcome them, let them go and return back to your senses.
For more information and sleeping tips, visit bensonsforbeds.co.uk.