Taking a long flight, whether for business or personal travel can be extremely harsh on you mentally and physically. Dehydration, disrupted sleeping patterns, and mental sluggishness are just a few things that can take place within you, and the effects can remain for days after you’ve arrived at your destination.
There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination, especially during holiday, unable to fully enjoy your surroundings and time spent with friends and family. Some of us may decide to push ourselves, only to find that we ‘crash’ a few hours, or days afterwards. This is not healthy for your mind nor your body, and so I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you during your flight, to combat with the effects of jet lag.
Certain foods to help with jet lag, promote sleep, and boost your immune system. And what you should try to avoid…
It is wise to bring snacks with you during the flight, just in case you are not too keen on what is being served, or need something in between meals to keep you feeling satisfied. It is not recommended to eat too much during your flight due to the fact that the process of digestion is slowed down.
Bring these snacks along with you to promote relaxation, hydration, and help you sleep!
Bananas are packed full of nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, which will allow your muscles to naturally relax. Tryptophan turns into melatonin and serotonin in the brain, promoting relaxation and sleepiness!
Protein bars are pretty great at fighting acid reflux and heartburn! You can also carry along some almonds, which also include a high dose of magnesium (like the bananas) to promote relaxation!
Cherries are a natural source of melatonin and if you can’t bring any along with you have a handful before heading to the airport!
Lemons are a wonderful for helping you stay hydrated! Not only that but lemons also boost the immune system and have anti-bacterial properties! Before heading to the airport have a cup of decaf green tea, or warm water with lemon! If you can, add in some ginger as well, as it’s rich in melatonin, and decreases the chances of motion sickness! 😀
Goji berries are a great snack to bring along during the flight, as they are also great for boosting the immune system! They can also enhance the quality of your sleep as well as act as a natural energy booster!
Yogurt is a wonderful option to support the digestive system, and a smoothie is a great pre-boarding snack! Order one that is low in sugar with fruits, yogurt, and ice!
.. And forget these..
When flying, you really want to try to avoid any food that may cause excess gas, such as beans, broccoli, bread, carbonated drinks, and even peaches. Excess gas can lead to bloating, and this is just not something you want to experience during your flight.
Other foods that have a high salt content, like tempting french fries, can cause heartburn and even fluid retention; which can lead to swelling in the feet and legs.
Oftentimes I will see many people ask for orange juice on a flight, which should also be avoided due to the acidity that can cause heartburn.
Avoid the tea, coffee, and yes that glass of wine too –
I am a coffee lover myself, and understand how hard it can be to resist the temptation. However, if you’re looking to get remotely any rest, tea and coffee should be avoided. Caffeine is also a diuretic which aids in dehydrating you and may cause you to have more bathroom breaks. It will also effect how easy it is to fall back asleep once you’ve woken up. (We all know how often that happens..)
Believe me, I know how hard it is to pass up those free alcoholic beverages that some airlines still offer today. (And trust me, I don’t always pass it up) But, alcohol can have the tendency to magnify your jet lag symptoms, and even dry out your skin.
If you’re craving something warm to drink, bring a packet of decaf green tea with you, or ask the flight attendants if they have some on board! Green tea has theanine in it, and this will help to promote sleep and relaxation!
Accessories for the long haul –
Bring a scarf –
We all know that on most long haul flights, they like to crank up the air conditioning to almost freezing temperatures. Not to mention, that thin, tiny blanket doesn’t do any justice in keeping you warm. I recommend bringing a comfy over-sized scarf vs. an extra blanket, because you can wear it through the airport, and it’s one less thing you have to tote around.
Carry along a portable charger for your phone –
Your phone is really important during a flight, not only because it’s how you will get in touch with your loved ones once you’ve arrived, but also because it’s a source of entertainment! A lot of us like to listen to music to relax, drowning out any other outside sounds. Noise blocking headphones are the best for this, because even if you’re not listening to music it helps to muffle any outside noises; especially if ear plugs don’t work for you.
Another great thing you can do is download any meditation or sleep aid applications, that you don’t need internet to access.
Bring a neck pillow and an eye mask along –
Let’s face it, those pillows you get on the plane offer no support and are not comfortable at all. I recommend purchasing a firm neck pillow, for the support and it’s comfortable to lean on if you have a window seat. One of my least favorites are the ones with the plastic beads in them, as they really do not offer much comfort at all.
An eye mask is great for blocking out the light, especially if you’re trying to sleep during meal and snack times. Or if your seat neighbor decides they want to read with the overhead light on, or has a device such as a laptop or kindle that also can disrupt your sleep.
Have some makeup remover wipes and extra tissues –
Whether you’re male or female, just feeling clean and refreshed puts us in a better, and a more relaxed state of mind. Bring a couple makeup-remover wipes with you (if you don’t want to bring the whole pack, just throw a couple into a zip-lock baggy) to freshen up during the flight.
Carry along some dry shampoo –
This is something that should be in everyone’s carryon bag during the long haul! In-between layovers we don’t usually have time to freshen up with a shower (depending on which airport you’re flying into) and greasy hair just isn’t cute. Dry shampoo comes in both spray and powder forms, and is so quick, convenient, and easy to keep your hair looking and smelling nice!
Dress comfortably –
You can still look and feel great in comfy clothes! Plus, there’s really no need for the business suits and high heels during your 8+ hour flight anyway… Palazzo pants, yoga pants, or just your favorite pair of jeans a cute t-shirt are great comfortable options for flights. Men, opt for your favorite button down and a nice pair of jeans, or even comfy sweat pants and a t-shirt!
If the plane has extra seats available, switch –
Right before the plane takes off or directly after the pilot has turned off the ‘seatbelt’ sign, ask the flight attendant if it’s ok to switch to that empty seat! I promise you will thank yourself for it later! This way you don’t have to disturb anyone else when you get up and you can stretch out and be a little more comfortable, allowing for some extra ZzZs … 😀