Five easy ways to beat jet lag

Regularly zipping between time zones, whether for work or pleasure, can take a toll on your health. But there are some simple things you can do to minimise the effects of jet lag each time you travel.

Sleepy in the day and wide awake at night. Poor concentration, coupled with a general sense of fatigue. Business trips can be especially draining if it involves crossing time zones to get to your destination. The time differences can mess up your internal clock and result in jet lag.

Drained of energy, this can make it hard for you to get through a day of client meetings and negotiations. And it’s not just about looking your best, jet lag can cost your company money. A study by Kayak and Airbus in 2016 found that jet lag costs UK businesses over £240 million (or S$412 million) a year due to productivity loss and mistakes made by fatigued employees.

To help you avoid the curse of jet lag, here are some tips to help you stay fresh and work effectively throughout your business travels.

Start adjusting your sleep patterns before you leave

Fighting jet lag begins even before you step onto a plane. If your destination is six hours behind your own time zone, for instance, you should start sleeping 1-2 hours later than usual at least two nights before you are scheduled to leave. This will help mitigate the impact of the time difference on your sleep patterns, and leave you better rested during the trip.

Don’t snooze when you land

It’s tempting to want to take a nap after a long flight. But if you arrive at your destination in the daytime, don’t do it, as you might end up asleep for hours. Instead, try to stay awake by taking a shower and keeping busy. If taking a quick snooze is a must, make sure you get up after 30 minutes.

Take a dose of Melatonin

This is a supplement popular with travellers trying to beat jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. The supplement itself won’t put you to sleep. Rather, it lets your body know that it’s bedtime so you can relax and fall asleep with ease.

Go easy on the caffeine and alcohol

You may think that strong coffee can help you stay awake during the day, while a couple of beers or a glass of wine over dinner is the antidote for falling asleep when you’re jet lagged. In truth, these substances can dehydrate you and affect the quality of your sleep. If you must have caffeine or alcohol, consume in moderation.

Get digital help

From sleep planner apps to smart sleep masks, technology can help you get the rest you need. For instance, Jet Lag Rooster is an app that lets you enter your flight details and your normal sleep pattern. It then creates a personalised hourly jet lag plan and offers advice on how to beat it. You can check out more apps here.