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Techniques for reducing jet-lag

Pre-flight
This is one of the most important aspects of combating jet-lag. Before departing, make sure you have all your affairs, business and personal, in order. Ensure you are not stressed-out with excitement or worry, and not tired or have a hangover from a function the night before. Get plenty of exercise in the days prior to departure and try to avoid sickness such as the flu, colds and so on. If you have a cold, flying will probably make it worse - ideally you should delay the trip. Get a good night's sleep just prior to departure.

East or West ?
There is much debate about whether it is better to fly eastward or westward. It may be largely a matter of personal preference, but there is some evidence that flying westwards causes less jet-lag than flying eastwards.

Night or day flight?
Again it is largely a matter of personal preference based on experience. Most travellers think daytime flights cause less jet-lag.

Drinking fluids
The dry air in aircraft causes dehydration. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids counters this. Water is better than coffee, tea and fruit juices. Alcohol not only is useless in combating dehydration, but has a markedly greater intoxicating effect when drunk in the rarefied atmosphere of an airliner than it does at ground level.

Sleeping aids
Blindfolds, ear plugs, neckrests and blow-up pillows are all useful in helping you get quality sleep while flying. Kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet (some airlines provide soft sock-like slippers, and many experienced travellers carry their own).

Boredom
Take a book that you have meaning to read for a long time. Don't just grab any book at the airport prior to your departure. Listening to Books on Tape are is also an excellent way to pass the time - and you can have your eyes closed while you listen.

Exercise
Get as much exercise as you can. Walking up and down the aisle, standing for spells, and doing small twisting and stretching exercises in your seat all help to reduce discomfort, especially swelling of legs and feet. Get off the plane if possible at stopovers, and do some exercises or take a walk. Also helps to reduce the possibilities of blood clots and associated trauma.

Showers
During extended stopovers on a long-haul flight, showers are sometimes available. A shower not only freshens you up but gets the muscles and circulation going again and make you feel much better for the rest of the flight. Trans-Pacific pilots have told us taking a shower in Hawaii helps them recover more quickly from the general effects of jet lag after the flight.

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