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Travel mistakes you're making that could be causing jet lag

DAVELLE LEE on 27 Jul 2018

The New Paper


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Experts and frequent fliers tell us what works and what doesn't when you travel across time zones


There are many supposed remedies to help us beat jetlag after a long flight, but don't believe all of them.


Myth #1: Landing at night means I can sleep through the jet lag and wake up refreshed


Social media influencer and lifestyle blogger Willabelle Ong, who flies every fortnight, said: "Opt for a flight that arrives in the day, so you'll find it easier to stay awake."


It's not just so you can make the most of your first day - it comes down to biology. Your body responds to sunlight.


"Walking in the sun helps your pineal gland in the brain to secrete natural melatonin," said Dr Pushparanee 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."


Myth #2: I should tire myself out before a flight so I can sleep on the plane


Don't stay up late before a 4am flight. You're only going to pass out once you're in your seat.


Instead, time your shut-eye to the time zone of the country you're flying to.


Eating food according to the schedule of your destination will also help you acclimatise, advised Ms Jessica Chuang, regional marketing director of Greater China, Southeast Asia and India for Hotels.com.


Myth #3: Drinking coffee or sugary beverages will help me stay awake


This is a big boo-boo stewardess Cherie Yeo often sees during flights - passengers down juice, soft drinks and coffee, then get jittery from the sugar and caffeine hit.


Dry air and low oxygen in the aircraft already causes dehydration and lethargy, so sugar, caffeine and alcohol will only make the discomfort worse.


Instead, water is your friend.


Also, if you're on sinus medication like phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, give it a miss before you board. These can disrupt your sleep cycle, said Dr Pushparanee.


Myth #4: Napping after landing will worsen jet lag


"If my London flight touches down at 6am local time, I force myself to nap for three hours - just because it's insane to stay up till night time," said Ms Yeo.


Once you've woken up, get straight out into the town so you aren't tempted to go back to bed.


Ms Ong advised skipping the taxis to get your heart rate and adrenaline going, saying: "Explore the town on foot to get your blood flowing. Or try hitting the gym."


Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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