After dealing with Jet Lag first hand recently and it is something that most people have to deal with at some point or another, I thought it would be a great opportunity to address Jet Lag and the strategies that I personally utilise to prevent and overcome from Jet Lag.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag or desynchronosis is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, a result of air travel across time zones. It is a disorder which is a disruption to the internal body clock circadian rhythm. Cause of Jet Lag?
Jet lag is caused by the inability of the body to immediately adjust to the time in a different zone. To fully grasp jet lag we must first address circadian rhythm, our bodies internal biological clock that follows a 24-hour cycle, which is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It is the disruption of this internal body clock that leads to the Jet Lag. Combat Strategies
When it comes to combatting Jet Lag there is an endless amount of strategies that you can utilise, I will share my personal strategies and hopefully, you will find them helpful in the future. I take a very scientific based approach, so each of the methods below you will find are grounded in science.
Stay Hydrated: With the reduction in oxygen and lack of humidity, dehydration is inevitable if you are not careful. To put it in perspective the air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent — much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent. Across 10 hour flight, men lose approximately two liters of water and in women around 1.6 liters Stay hydrated! My rule is always say yes to water but also carry a drink bottle to regularly sip on and don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendant for water. Most importantly, stay clear from alcohol as it will only further dehydrate you.
Keep Moving: The human body is designed to be in locomotion. For this reason, I always select aisle seat, to ensure I can regularly get up and move and stretch (Key focus: opening up the hips and chest and increasing blood flow in lower limbs). I also take some time to complete isometric calf raises. All of these exercises and stretches are key in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). (I also wear compression socks to help in prevention of DVT as well)
Ankle Circles (Clockwise / Anticlockwise)
Ankle Point / Lifts (Plantarflexion / Dorsiflexion)
Pelvic Tilts: Sit upright position and tilt your pelvis back and forth between anterior and posterior positions
Shoulder Shrug / Depression / Retraction: Key focus of the exercise is hold the depression and retraction for approx 30sec each rep
Chin Tucks & Gentle Neck ROM: Sit upright position tuck your chin in and then relax and repeat. Shift your head gently around (Clockwise / Anticlockwise / Back / Forward) if desired you can add some gentle resistance with one of your palms
Isometric Calf Raises: 2x45sec each leg every 2hours
Deep Squat: Find some space and drop into a deep squat and shift around back and forth aiming to open up the hips and lower back. Aim for 2min but more is always better.
Forward Bend: Relax into this position with straight legs and if you can touch toes link fingers underneath (if not bend knees as needed) start with oscillating the hips around then aim to gradually fall deeper into the stretch. Complete a few rep of bending knees to straight.
Back Bend: Either place your hand high on a wall or overhead compartment and gently fall into the stretch driving your hips forward while also opening up through your shoulders
Groin Stretch: Stand with a wide stance and shifting your weight to one leg bending into it while keeping the other leg straight. Shift back and forth from side to side.90 degree Chest stretch: Find a corner or a wall, step to the side and place one forearm up against the wall in a 90-degree position from the upper arm and gently fall in and out of the stretch opening up through your chest.
Melatonin: Your sleep hormone is found naturally in the body which is a key component of regulating the circadian rhythm. I take this when it is time to sleep. A healthy version of a sleeping pill.
Magnesium: Naturally relieve stress by ensuring your muscles and nerves function properly. Magnesium is also a natural sleep aid, which makes it the perfect companion for overnight flights, and can help relieve the tension of muscle spasms and cramps, which are inevitable after hours in a stationary position. I take this before and regularly throughout each flight.
Exogenous Ketones: There is new research stating that being in a state of ketosis has the ability mitigate the impairments of sleep deprivation and this can be achieved through the use of exogenous ketones, diet (HFLC) or fasting. I use ketones for training and mental state but I have not yet used personally while traveling. However, I will definitely be introducing this next time I fly.
Get moving: Take the stairs and walk as much as possible, this is a great opportunity to get some blood pumping.
Stretching / Yoga: If you have the time, find a quiet space where you can unwind and do some stretching or yoga. I normally carry a towel in my carry on as it can be tough to find airports with a soft surface to stretch on.
Refuel: While flying your diet is extremely restricted to what is given to you and airline food which is notoriously unhealthy. Flying at 30,000 feet dulls the taste buds and dries out the ingredients which impact the passenger’s’ ability to sense flavor by 30%. To overcome this issue, chefs utilise extra sugar, salt and spice to improve palatability.
What sort of foods should I be looking for? It can be dependant on the airport you are in but aim to get some healthy whole foods that are high in antioxidants, fiber, zinc, magnesium. Which comes through; fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and if limited on time grab a freshly squeezed juice.
Light Exposure: No sunglasses! Exposure to light or to darkness is key in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. This prevents the excretion of melatonin which therefore hinders your circadian rhythm.
Remove Blue Light: Just like sunlight the LED light that our electronic devices produce is just as impactful in affect our circadian rhythm. Most phones these days have blue light filters or you can download an app like F.Lux which syncs devices screen with the light to mimic circadian cycle of a set time zone. This is a key hack I use every day not only when flying, I suggest implementing this simple hack now for better sleep.
Adapt to new time zone: Flight the sleepiness! Stay awake until you are within an hour of your normal bedtime and wake with an hour of normal time.
Avoid naps: If you do nap, make sure it is before 3 pm and keep them tactical 20 mins only! Otherwise, you will impede your circadian rhythm.
Flotation Therapy: Long haul flights are a stress on the body and flotation therapy is a great way for disconnecting from that stress and unwinding. It also assists with the inflammation associated with long-haul flights. I personally make sure I visit
“New You” for a float before and after each flight.
Nutrition: High fat will help stabilise blood sugars and help avoid the big peaks and troughs associated with high carbohydrate diets. Aim to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich food (berries, pecans, dark chocolate) to help fight all the free radicals built up.
Cold Showers: Energy is produced through the mitochondrial (intracellular powerhouses) and cold showers is one of the quickest ways to induce neurogenesis
(the production of new mitochondria) therefore resetting the system and boosting energy levels.
Grounding: Kick your shoes off, get outside and connect with the earth whether is grass, sand or the ocean. This may sound a bit airy fairy but there has been a strong association with grounding and re-energising the system. This is done through soaking up the earth’s negative charge, which reduces inflammation and leaves you feeling more refreshed and recharged.
Flights are bacteria pits so always a good idea to boost your immune system with some vitamins. I personally use and love BePure products and have not come across anything better on the market.
BePure Vit C Boost: Quickest way to boost your immunity is a good quality source of Vitamin C, this high potency Vitamin C is unbeatable!
BePure One: A whole food supplement with such a diverse selection of nutrients it is a full proof method to ensure you not missing anything through your diet.
BePure Three: This would have to be the strongest Omega 3 on the market and one of the best ways to fight inflammation. With a long haul flight you are guaranteed inflammation, therefore, it is important to reduce it as soon as possible.
Exogenous Ketones: Due to the mitigating effects of sleep deprivation as discussed earlier this would definitely be a supplement to concider.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks help you avoid the nasty effects of jet lag ensuring your next trip is not wasted away trying to recover.