5 ways to beat jet lag
Hectic airports, delayed flights and lost luggage – travelling on a plane can be seriously stressful. And if you’re crossing multiple time zones, you can also expect symptoms of jet lag. From headaches and irritation, to an upset stomach and a pounding heart, once your body’s natural 24-hour clock has been disrupted there’s nothing that can completely beat jet lag. However, there are things you can do to ease its symptoms and enjoy your holiday. Here, Michela Vagnini, Nutritionist at Nature’s Plus gives her top tips on beating jet lag naturally – plus we have a fortnight’s supply of their Green Lightning green foods blend to give away!
1 Look at the sun
To rebalance your day and night rhythm, try to force yourself to get up just after sunrise. To boost your cortisol production, which is responsible for waking up in the morning, look towards the sun when waking – an open window will do the trick if you can’t get outside. In the evening, look at the sunset until it gets dark. This will stimulate melatonin production in your brain, which is also known as the ‘sleeping hormone’.
2 Stay away from Starbucks
Several studies have identified dietary components, such as glucose, sodium, ethanol or caffeine as capable of phase-shifting day and night rhythms. Be careful with sugary and junk foods that might have some stimulating additives or flavourings. Stay away from coffee, colas, teas and other energetic drinks or herbs. Be careful with crisps and salted peanuts – they are very high in salt. Try to reduce your salt intake to 2g a day max (1/2 teaspoon). Make sure you read labels as some snacks may contain MSG, a popular flavour enhancer, also known to be a brain stimulant.
Having an alcoholic drink might seem like a good idea to help you fall asleep but in fact, it will compromise sleep quality and dehydrate you, making it more difficult to adapt to new time zones.
3 Turn off your phone
Long-time exposure to blue light from our phones, iPads and TVs can interfere with production of melatonin and confuse our tired bodies, which will think it’s daylight and a sign to stay awake.
4 Go for a walk
Sunlight stimulates the secretion of serotonin, known as a ‘happy’ hormone that will give you a quick boost of energy. In addition, when our body gets physically tired it induces a deeper, better sleep.
5 Support your adrenal glands
These peanut-size masses of tissue located on top of your kidneys are essential for your stress response and sleeping patterns. When you are jet lagged they’re doubling up their workload to keep you awake so they need an extra support. The most important nutrients for adrenal health are vitamin B, which you can find in eggs, organic meat, green leafy vegetables and wholegrains, and spirulina and algae extract – great super foods for our adrenal glands, providing essential minerals and amino acids. To get a complete green foods blend, add a tablespoon of Nature’s Plus Green Lightning (www.nutricentre.com, £1.29 per sachet) to coconut water.