The scientifically-proven ways to totally beat jet lag according to a model and nutritionist who flies every single week

 

Glamour Magazine

Put down the champagne and the pretzels, basically.

By Sarah Ann Macklin

 

Sarah Ann-Macklin is a model and nutritionist who knows a thing or two about long-haul travel and how to prevent pesky jet lag. But did you know you can beat it with nutrition and EVEN only travelling on certain aircrafts? Here, she shares her ultimate guide to beating jet lag.

As a constant traveller, I have flown weekly for the past 12 years with jet lag as my sidekick. I am expected to turn up fresh eyed and perky on set, yet the reality is I would arrive blurry eyed, drowsy and with a bloated stomach. Traveling and jet lag generally do take a toll on our health, leaving you feeling slightly worse for wear and unprepared to explore your new destination.

 
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What is jet lag and what are its long-term health effects?

Travel fatigue is associated with long journeys irrespective of a change in times zones, however traveling across more than three time zones can cause jet lag which leaves us feeling fatigued, disorientated, nauseous, a loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues and muscle and joint pain. Jet lag has also been shown, according to studies on flight attendants, to have longer term health consequences including an increased risk of cancer, infertility and heart disease.

So why does jet-lag affect us so badly? Our internal body clock known as the circadian rhythm is set to just a little over 24 hours. This internal body clock has control over hormone production, body temperature, sleep patterns and appetite. Our circadian rhythm is synchronised to the light and dark cycle of our regular environment, and this is where jet-lag plays a part. When travelling to a different time zone this rhythm becomes desynchronised due to the change in time of regular light exposure in the new environment. This can be accelerated with the general fatigue caused by travel such as getting up early to catch a morning flight or simply, dehydration due to filtered cabin air being so dry, not to mention the free booze on some aircrafts that we just can’t say no to.

 

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Claire Thorburn