Jetlag is a weird feeling. You're out for dinner with friends the day after you land and suddenly you hit the wall, are rendered brainless and in desperate need of crawling into bed, only to find yourself awake three hours later, hungry and unable to get back to sleep.
Here are five tips to beat jetlag:
Prepare your body clock
You might have noticed that travelling from New Zealand has a different impact than travelling home after spending a couple of weeks or more away. Try this: go to bed earlier a few nights before travelling east and go bed later for a few nights if you're travelling west.
If arriving chipper and ready to hit the ground running is important, paying the extra for an upgrade is worth it, especially if you're on a night flight and have a full day ahead of you. Remember you have several options on some planes like Air New Zealand's cuddle class in economy, or premium economy. If money is no object, go business every time!
Tell your doctor about your travel plans and if sleeping tablets are safe for you my advice is to take one with your dinner on an overnight flight to ensure at least four hours' kip. But the trick is to take another one the next night in your final destination. I swear by it. Nothing worse than crashing into bed tired as a toddler only to be wide awake a few hours later.
Food and drink
Eat at the times of your new timezone rather than when the airline serves you, which is usually on the departing destination's time. Limit alcohol and coffee on the flight as these will affect your sleep. Eat a high protein breakfast the morning after you arrive to help you stay alert on day one. Read my blog for nutritional tips from the experts in the sky here.
Download the Entrain app
Students at the University of Michigan are testing a new free app to help travellers know how to trick their body clocks. It's all about circadian rhythms, they say, and how much light we are exposed to at key times. Download the Entrain app, enter the timezone you are heading to and the timezone you are leaving and it will calculate when you need bright light and low light (aka sunshine). It might mean you need to be in a well-lit room at night time or vice versa, but they say it will cut your jetlag time down by days.