You travel almost daily for business trips. Your air miles are littered across your hotel room, the only place you really find rest. A business lifestyle needn’t be as draining. Below CEO Today hears from Touchnote CEO, Oded Ran, on the top tips for preventing and dealing with jetlag.
If you’re flying east for more than nine hours it can take a whole week to recover from jet lag. Travelling in that direction shocks your body clock with a shorter day, which has been found to be much harder to adjust to. Even a flight west of just a few hours can leave you out of sorts for a few days – and put you in danger of an involuntary nap on an airport travelator.
When you have important business meetings to attend or deals to make, you have to do everything possible to ensure you’re at your best. Over the years, I’ve researched or been told about techniques that work well. And they’ve proved crucial in recent months, when I’ve regularly been travelling between our London HQ and our US subsidiary in Los Angeles.
So, here are five main areas to think about when trying to beat jet lag:
If you’re flying long-haul, west to east, try to book a later flight that’s optimal for sleeping. Leaving late afternoon on Sunday helps to maintain your weekly routine and you can still spend most of the weekend with friends and family.
When flying west, I like a midday Friday flight so that I arrive in California at around 4pm local time and I can carry on the rest of the day and weekend as normal.
You could also use a site like seatguru.com to try and get one of the prime spots on the plane.
Meals up in the air can disrupt your routine and exacerbate the effects of jet lag, so try to eat at home or at the airport to give yourself more choice and flexibility. This way you can make better use of the time by sleeping or working on the flight. It also means you can choose what you want to eat and when you want to eat it.
It’s also important to stay hydrated, so avoiding caffeine and alcohol will help you shrug off jet lag too.
When flying east overnight, try to get six hours’ sleep.
To help you nod off the night of a flight and before bed the following day, you could use a little bit of melatonin. This natural hormone resets the body clock and reduces the effects of jet lag. Of course, you should do your own research into any side effects of taking melatonin, which is sold over-the-counter in the US.
There’s a “hack” that I’ve discovered recently, which can also improve sleep – and that’s changing the colour of your phone screen to grayscale. I’ve been addicted to my phone for years but, miraculously, this has reduced the amount of time I spend flicking between apps. It also means that I’m not being exposed to blue light, which suppresses melatonin. It’s also a good idea to have a digital detox and start to unwind 30 minutes before bedtime.
With good planning, it’s quite easy to ensure that work isn’t disrupted. Six hours’ sleep on the overnight flight offers three useful hours for work before landing. If you’re flying west at a reasonable hour, you can work and read for most of the journey if needed.
Try to have a good meal soon after you’ve landed. And, most importantly, stay awake until about 10pm local time to help you get back into your normal routine.
On one occasion, I gave “earthing” a go. This involves putting your bare feet in the soil – it’s supposed to help you pick up the earth’s negative charge and get in sync with the new time zone. I haven’t tried it again but some people swear by it.
Lastly, exercise can also help with jet lag. You should try and stick to your usual exercise routine. And definitely walk at the airport, instead of taking the travelator. Just in case.