Monday 13 July 2015

My top 3 tips for managing jet lag after along haul flight.

I've just returned from a 13 hour flight from Canada to Dubai. The moment I stepped on the plane, I wrote off the 8 hour time difference, however the cabin crew on flight EK242 thought differently to me and after serving dinner, dimmed the cabin lights, keeping us all on Canadian time and served breakfast 2 hours before we landed at dinner time in the UAE.

On previous flights to the UK from South Africa via Dubai, the plane that connects you to the UK comes from Australia and they put you into Australian time, serving dinner 2 hours prior to landing in the UK in the morning.

It's not so difficult to manage a flight from South Africa to the UK, where the time difference is either 1-2 hours depending on the time of year, but with a 4 hour lay over in Dubai and the time difference. I asked for a glass of wine with my lunch on the Dubai to UK leg of the flight and only afterwards realised my body clock was still at 8.30am.

My husband had returned from the US a few days before I flew to Canada and his method to avoid jet lag is to adapt to local time with immediate effect. This saw him falling asleep on the sofa in the afternoons, waking at 3am and generally taking a week to recover. I however have my own tips on managing jet lag and they are as follows:

  1. Arrange you travel so your flight arrives in the evening, by the time you've cleared customs, collected your bags etc and made it to the hotel you are actually ready for bed, whether you slept or not during the flight.
  2. Eat what you want, when you want until you adjust. I find sugary foods and drinks actually help and eat plenty of fruit. Half the problem with recovery time is your internal body clock and the sooner you manage to have a bowel movement the sooner you'll start to adjust to local time.
  3. Don't worry about waking up at 4am for the first few mornings, just alter your daily activities for a couple of days and don't feel guilty if you do have an afternoon nap, don't battle/fight it.
Of course I don't have a job to go to and I don't have children living at home, but it works for me.

Do you have any tips on managing jet lag you'd like to share. I have 2 more international flights booked this year, so will get chance to use them.


  1. There are some great tips here and I think it's good advice to not fight it. Here we just go with the flow until we're back in the zone, although this can take several days and I always vow that next time will be better than the last. Hope you've recovered x

    1. I'm not sure my tips worked, but i am sleeping at night