If you’ve been using these methods, they’re actually responsible for throwing your body clock even more out of whack. Experts and frequent fliers tell us what actually works – even if you’re cramped in economy class.
"Jet-setter Willabelle Ong believes in getting enough rest before a flight."
Mistake: Landing at night means I can sleep and wake up refreshed
“Opt for a flight that arrives in the day, so you’ll find it easier to stay awake,” says Willabelle Ong, a social media influencer and lifestyle blogger who flies every fortnight. This rule applies regardless of where you’re flying to.
It comes down to biology. “Walking in the sun helps the pineal gland in the brain to secrete natural melatonin,” explains Dr Push paranee Somasundram, a senior family physician at the Department of Family Medicine at Sengkang Health. “Melatonin helps to keep you awake in the daytime, and sleep well at night.” Mistake: I should tire myself out before a flight so I can sleep on the plane
Do you try to stay up late before a 4am flight? You’re only going to pass out once you’re in your seat. What you should be doing is timing your shut-eye according to the time zone of your destination, even if it means sleeping only after you’re airborne for six hours.
So set your watch to the new time zone. Eating and sleeping accordingly will help Your Jet Lag Is Down to These Mistakes If you’ve been using these methods, they’re actually responsible for throwing your body clock even more out of whack. Experts and frequent fliers tell us what actually works – even if you’re cramped in economy class. you acclimatise, advises Jessica Chuang, regional marketing director of Greater China, South-east Asia and India for Hotels.com. You might not have control over when the airline serves meals, but you can pay attention to when you reach for snacks.
Mistake: Drinking coffee or sugary beverages will help me stay awake
This is a big mistake stewardess Cherie Yeo often sees during flights. She sees passengers downing juice, soft drinks and coffee, then get jittery once the sugar and caffeine hit their system. The dry air and low oxygen in the aircraft already cause dehydration and lethargy, so sugar, caffeine and alcohol will only make the discomfort worse. Water is your friend.
A side note: If you’re on sinus medication like phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, give it a miss before you board. These are known to disrupt your sleep cycle, says Dr Pushparanee.
Mistake: Napping after landing will worsen jet lag
So you’ve landed in the morning and want to get going. But if you land at dawn, catching a short nap gives you the fuel you need to survive the rest of the day. “If my London flight touches down at 6am, I force myself to nap for three hours – just because it’s insane to stay up till night-time,” says Cherie. If you naturally wake up at 9am, that’s when you should start your day – just be careful not to oversleep.
Once you’ve woken up, get moving so you aren’t tempted to go back to bed. Willabelle advises skipping the taxi rides to get your heart rate up. “Explore the town on foot to get your blood flowing. Or if it’s gloomy out, try hitting the gym.” Jessica also suggests finding out what’s in the vicinity of your accommodation before you fly. You’ll be more efficient in getting out and about and shaking off that stupor.
Mistake: I should reward myself with meals to keep off post-flight hunger
Airplane food doesn’t sit right with everyone, but exercise some restraint in choosing your meals once you land. Studies have shown that turkey, chicken, sweetcorn, oats, rice and tomatoes can combat jet lag as they help regulate your sleep cycle. It just takes one or two days of eating these foods to reset your body. After that, you’re good to indulge.
TEXT DAVELLE LEE PHOTOS WILLABELLE ONG & 123RF
HAVE THESE ESSENTIALS ON HAND BEFORE YOU BOARD
If you want an alternative to water, Willabelle recommends camomile tea, which is known for its calming properties. Because it’s also caffeine-free, you don’t have to worry about dehydration.
Cherie swears by the self-warming Megrhythm Steam Eye Mask Lavender-Sage. The heat and scent of the mask help her fall asleep.
Classical music playlists
Dr Pushparanee advises that your music of choice should be slow, soothing and rhythmic. Classical music releases dopamine and reduces stress, so get a playlist on your Spotify before you fly.