How to minimise Jet Lag as a frequent traveller

Travelling for business is always difficult, as you tend to find yourself working in different time zones. Eating well and staying healthy can be challenging and jet lag is not ideal when you have meetings to attend. Symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood changes and stomach problems. Although there is no cure for jet lag, there are certain things you can do to help make your life easier as a frequent traveller.

  • Get plenty of sleep before catching a flight, you can even gradually change your sleep routine by an hour or two, which will push your body clock closer to the time of your destination, meaning your body will be in less shock.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine when travelling and if adjusting to jet lag.  Both disturb sleep and cause dehydration, if you need caffeine for a boost in the morning avoid drinking it past midday.

  • Keep hydrated.  Dehydration contributes to fatigue symptoms which can make you feel worse

  • Avoid sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates such as large amounts of white bread, white pasta, noodles and white rice.  Although these might give you a temporary energy boost, it's usually followed by a sugar crash shortly after which can leave you feeling irritable and sluggish.  Go for slow release carbohydrates such as protein pots, nuts and seeds, veggie boxes and porridge.   Be aware that instant food pots can contain a lot of sugar.

  • Invest in a light therapy box if you are a frequent flyer.  Bright sunlight in the mornings and avoiding light in the evenings has been shown to decrease jet lag symptoms if travelling east (and the opposite if travelling west).  This helps to reset your body's natural circadian rhythm.  Or get outside first thing in the morning for some direct sunlight.

  • Exercise helps the body adjust to jet lag, go for a morning jog, quick swim or even some stretching!

  • Eat nuts, seeds, dark green leafy veg and (a small amount of) good quality dark cacao chocolate!  These foods contain magnesium which help promote sleep and relaxation.  Go for pumpkin seeds, cashew and walnuts.  

  • Some supplements have been shown to help with jet lag.  Melatonin helps to regulate your sleep wake cycle so taking a small dose just before bed can be beneficial.  However, it can interact with some medications so speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking.  Or try a handful of pistachios before bed which are a good source of melatonin.  Other supplements such as passionflower extract and magnesium can also be helpful.  Check with your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist if you are on any other medications and to ensure correct dosages.