Jet lag is the bane of every holiday. You spend a lot of money on your vacation, get very excited about it... and then spend the first three days in Thailand in a tired haze. There are ways to avoid jet lag though, and they aren't as expensive or complicated as you think. Here are our top 5 ways to avoid jet lag:
Sleep smart - Is your flight getting in first thing in the morning? Then get all the sleep you can on the plane. Arriving in time for dinner? Force yourself to stay awake to get a good first night's rest in your destination. Think about your arrival time and plan accordingly... it's worth it. Don't give in to the temptation to nap when you get there as well; stay up until 11pm to force your body into its new rhythm or you'll be fighting it your whole vacation.
Stay hydrated - Dehydration messes with your internal clock in a big way, and airplanes are like extra-cold deserts; the altitude quickly sucks moisture out of food and skin, so you need to work extra-hard to stay hydrated. Drink at least two glasses of water per hour, and consider bringing your own fresh fruit along (but eat it before you disembark). Keep a plane-friendly tube of moisturiser as well. Another big no-no? Alcohol and soft drinks.
Stay active - Whether its on the plane or the three-hour layover, keep your blood pumping by getting a little activity in. Get up and walk around a few times on long flights, and explore the airport instead of just camping out at your gate. If you're at an airport with the facilities, a quick shower will also help rejuvinate a tired body. Light exercise really helps to combat fatigue (and its accompanying grumpiness), but try not to exercise close to bedtime.
Set your watch - Once you're on the plane, you don't need to know what time it is back home. Immediately set your watch to your destination's time zone so that your body adjusts quicker. If you're taking medication, adjust the schedule as soon as possible as well.
Avoid pills - While sleeping pills are a tempting aid to getting some shut-eye on the flight, they can actually make jet lag worse by pulling your internal clock in yet another direction. The ensuing grogginess that comes when you take sleeping pills isn't a great state to arrive in a foreign country in, anyway. Melatonin is also touted as a miracle cure for jet lag, but be wary as it can make things worse if you time the dosage incorrectly.