Working out how to avoid jet lag is the ultimate goal of the long distance traveller. At least, it is for this one!
There is nothing worse then arriving in a new and exciting place, only to be struck down by the curse of jet lag. Sleeplessness at night, the overwhelming need to nap during the day, irritability, forgetfulness and an overwhelming sense of grumpy. It’s even worse when you get home. Especially if you have to leap straight back into work mode. Ugh.
How to avoid jet lag
Much has been written on how to avoid the evils of jet lag:
- don’t drink alcohol on the plane, or for the few hours before travelling
- limit caffeine on the plane and for the day or so before you travel
- stay hydrated – drink a LOT of water
- walk around on the plane as much as you can [pro tip – request an aisle seat to make it easier to get up and out of your seat]
- try and acclimatise your body into the new time zone – sleep during normal sleep hours
- get lots of fresh air and sun when you arrive at your destination.
These are all great tips, but haven’t helped me avoid jet lag.
A passing conversation in a health food store last year led me on a quest to work out how to avoid jet lag forever.A conversation in a health food store led me on a quest to work out how to avoid jet lag Click To Tweet
I was buying some olive leaf extract* capsules and the shop assistant asked me if I was going overseas. Coincidentally I was. She asked if I took olive leaf extract to help reduce jet lag. Um, what? NO! I had been taking it (and still take it) for a few years to ward off general nasties – colds, niggling sore throats and general immune support – but had NEVER thought of it as a potential way to dodge the dreaded jet lag.
I thought there couldn’t be any harm in giving it a go. And guess what? No jet lag.
I wanted to write this post last year, as I successfully evaded jet lag on my seven week trip through Europe and the US, but I thought one trip with no jet lag wasn’t really a scientific conclusion. Two trips probably isn’t either, but I’m feeling pretty impressed with how fab I feel after my latest trip to the US (I’ve been home three days).
My top advice to avoid jet lag
This is what I did:
- I followed many of the tips above – especially the lots of water and walking around as much as possible on the plane. I was a bit lax with the whole no alcohol and no caffeine bit, but I certainly didn’t go crazy.
- On my recent trip I arrived in Portland at lunchtime after being up for about 28 hours, with very little sleeping on the plane as there were a lot of good movies on offer! I had a shower, a couple of big glasses of water and then a short sleep for a bit less than three hours. I then got up (about 5pm local time), went for a long walk, had dinner, watched Survivor (yes, am addicted. That’s a whole other blog post!) and went to bed about 10pm. Slept for ten hours and was good for the rest of the trip. By which I mean I had my normal sleeping patterns.
- Coming home (for my last two trips) I left LAX at midnight, arrived in Brisbane at 6.30am. I am one of those very lucky people who can sort-of sleep on a plane if I’m tired enough – especially after a busy day and with a midnight flight – so I managed about eight hours of very restless napping. Once home I again had a short sleep for about 2-3 hours, then went to bed about 9pm. I managed a solid nine hours and have been in my regular routine since then.
The difference between these two trips and previous was this:
- I took olive leaf extract – before flying I increased my regular dose and took two tablets twice a day for each of the two days before I left and two more just before getting on the plane. I also took two tablets as soon as I landed, then one every day I was away. The days I had a flight where I changed time zones by more three or more hours (such as London – New York) I took two tablets twice a day for the day before, the day of and the day after the flight. I repeated the two tablet dose before my return flight and for the first 48 hours after returning home.
- I also invested in a pair of very glam compression socks, and was diligent about wearing them on any flight that was longer than three hours duration. While these are primarily to help avoid DVT, their main purpose is to help keep your blood circulating (as long as you do a few exercises and walk around a bit while on the plane), which I think can only help with avoiding jet lag. Please note that compression socks should be properly fitted for maximum effectiveness. I bought mine from a pharmacist who measured my lower leg in three places before recommending an appropriate size.
Do you take olive leaf extract? Have you considered using it for combatting jet lag? Would you give it a go?
* Research shows olive leaf extract is packed full of antioxidants. It’s also great for reducing cardiovascular health risk factors, including reducing elevated LDL-cholesterol levels and helping maintain normal blood pressure levels. I take one capsule 4-5 times a week, and have for about four years. I increase my dosage if I feel a bit meh. You can buy it in liquid form (which tastes pretty ghastly!) or in capsule or tablet form. The brand I buy also has echinacea in it and is from a health food store.
Disclaimer: this is not sponsored, I’m just sharing the anti-jet lag and olive leaf extract love. Plus, I haven’t had a cold or serious sore throat or any other major ailment (except melanoma, which I don’t think it can help prevent!) since I started taking olive leaf extract.
Please note this information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.