Jet lag – probably one of worst thing about travelling. That and the panic of your bag not arriving on the baggage carousel. Oh – and tiny hotel shampoo bottles that turn your hair to straw.
As someone who is super lucky to be able to travel a lot – I’ve now got such a good routine when it comes to long haul flights and big time zone jumps. I am always trying to reduce that horrible jet lag feeling – that ‘why am I awake – it is 3am’ or the ‘how can it be 8am – I am beyond exhausted and feel so sluggish – can I go back to sleep for a month’.
So to help this – I have complied a list of my top 6 tips to feel more refreshed when travelling – I really hope you find this helpful!
I also wanted to share with you a new daily supplement I have been taking (big fan of supplements – whose mum didn’t make them take fish oil tablets when doing exams?!) called Bio-pycnogenol, that works as an antioxidant and helps to reduce jet-lag. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine tree, and studies have shown improvement in sleep quality, enhanced synchronisation with time zones and reduced fatigue (woooo). Studies have also shown a decrease in leg swelling. (Will go into more detail below).
So let’s start off with my top 6 tips for reducing jet lag.
- Sleep management
Now this may sounds so annoyingly obvious – but there are ways to prepare your body for your new time zone. I find that flying West is really easy for my body clock. It basically means that I can wake up at 11am UK time and it is only 6am NYC time – giving me a ‘lie in’ and a super early morning to explore the city. And by the end of the day – you are naturally very tired – which means falling asleep is normally very easy. Basically you are travelling back in time – and life is a breeze. ish.
My tip for flying West, for example, America – is to stay try and stay awake as long as possible on the first night. Try not to fall asleep before 9pm as this will hopefully stop you from waking up at 4am and not being able to get back to sleep causing you to be tired the whole next day.
However – my biggest struggle is flying East. I hate it. It fills me with dread – because you are basically flying forward in time. I find it almost impossible to reset my body clock. I always manage to not be able to fall asleep before 1am and find it so hard to wake up before 10am.
It is SO important to have a super early night when you land – so that when your alarm goes off at 8am then next morning (which will still feel like 3am alarm) – you know you are well rested. When I got home from NYC last time – I made the mistake of not going to bed until 11pm when we landed – having not slept at all on the night flight home – meaning I slept through my alarm until around midday the next day (luckily it was a weekend) but I completely ruined my body clock for a good few days.
When flying from the USA to the UK – normally it will be an overnight flight. Try and get as much sleep as possible on the flight (if screaming babies and tiny seats allow it) – but then STAY AWAKE – DO NOT NAP when you land – even if you land at 8am UK time. Stay awake all day – go for a walk – stay off the sofa – so that when it gets to the evening you are exhausted and flop into bed. One nap and you will be wide awake at bed time and you will basically be screwed.
2) Try some natural supplements to help your body out –
This post is written in paid collaboration with Pycnogenol.
I have been using Pycnogenol® supplements to try and combat jet lag. Let me tell you a little bit more about this product – prepare for some groovy research and studies #ScienceNerdFacts
Pycnogenol® is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine tree and is a powerful super-antioxidant, shown through decades of research to boost blood circulation and act as a natural anti-inﬂammatory. It’s found in over 1000 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins, cosmetics and health products worldwide. Horphag, the manufacturers of the ingredient, contacted me to try it out as I travel a lot and am constantly complaining about jet lag, so I was excited to try it. Along with the beneﬁts I stated above (such an improvement in sleep quality, enhanced synchronisation with time zones and reduced fatigue), Pycnogenol® has also been shown to reduce leg swelling in long haul ﬂights and road trips. This is something I MASSIVELY struggle with – and something I am so keen to get rid of – there is nothing cute about arriving at your destination with cankles.
The recent research tested 295 individuals ﬂying in economy twice a week for more than 8 hours – it found that Pycnogenol® is more effective in reducing lower leg edema (swelling) than other common preventative measures like compression socks. By feeling more rested, having reduced fatigue and improved sleep quality, you are more likely to be ready to get up and go seize the day on your trip (for me, New York, obvs) or feel fresher during those holiday blues. (I would highly recommend that you do all your research before purchasing a supplement that someone has recommended to you, whether it is a blogger, family friend etc. I can tell you everything I know about it and all the studies and research that I am aware of, but as with anything medicinal – even if it is a natural supplement – make sure to do all your research before you try!)
You can read more about Pycnogenol®’s benefits at www.pycnogenol.com
3) DRINK DRINK DRINK (water water water)
Another obvious one – stay hydrated.
My friends always laugh at me when I buy two big 1litre waters before I get on the plane. They always laugh and say ‘you know they give you water’ etc. But no. No – they never ever give you enough in those tiny little cups. Unless you want to press your bell every 5 mins and severely annoy the air hostesses I would highly recommend buying a big bottle of water and keep sipping on it constantly.
This will also hopefully mean you need to keep getting up and waling to the bathroom for regular toilet breaks – which is another benefit as it is so important to always stay moving around the cabin and not just sit down for 8 hours.
The air-con on the plane makes your skin and body so dehydrated so just make sure to keep topping up with water – more than you would normally drink. I would also highly recommend many regular spritz of the Kiehl’s Cactus Flower and Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating face mist to keep your skin hydrated and not have to worry about being stared at with a face mask on.
By staying hydrated on the flight this will leave you feeling SO much better when you get to your destination and so so so much less sluggish and gross.
4) Don’t drink on a flight.
Now I know that this is a crime to some people. The most fun part of flying for many people is free drinks all the way there. But this is also a fast track way of making your body feel horrible when you land.
However – this also massively depends on what sort of trip you are on. If you are on a flight to Vegas for a hen party – I doubt you will be too fussed about feeling groggy and dehydrated upon arrival. But for anyone who is desperately trying to stay as hydrated and fresh as possible, then reduce the amount of alcohol you have on board and also the amount of caffine – as both will increase dehydraion. Sure – having a mini bottle of wine with your food won’t hurt you – but try and not go overboard on board if you are looking to feel fabulous when you land.
5) Feeding times
Try and get your meal times synced with your new destination as this will also really help with falling asleep and waking up hungry for breakfast at the beginning of your trip. I always set my watch to the new time zone as soon as I get on the plane and I will then try and eat at the correct meal time of my destination – rather than when the food is served on a plane. I know this wont work for everyone but this works well for me as I normally HATE plane food, HATE IT, and it makes me feel so bloated – so I try and buy a healthy meal / snacks before getting on the plane and eat them in my new feeding times 🙂 #spendingallmymoneyinPretpreflight. Healthy food is also a great way of feeling fresh when you get off the plane rather than just eating junk for 8 hours.
6) Pamper session
My last piece of advice is self care when you land. The aim of the game is to feel as refreshed and ready to go the first morning in your new destination. The day you land is always a pretty gross day – especially if you can’t check in and shower straight away. So I always try and make myself feel super relaxed in my new environment on the first evening. I will give myself a little pamper, have a long shower, wash my hair, do a face mask, read a book, and try and fall asleep at a normal time, feeling nice and zen. This will leave you feeling super clean and refreshed for your next morning of exploring!
I really hope you found this helpful – please do let me know any other tips and tricks you might have!
This post was writing in collaboration with Pycnogenol