Research offers ways to avoid jet lag on long-haul flights

Research offers ways to avoid jet lag on long-haul flights
Photo: geralt, Pixabay

Australians are too often forced to deal with jet lag after long flights. Jet lag, which causes fatigue and insomnia, may take days or over a week to recover from.

With Singapore Airlines set to launch the longest non-stop flight in history at 18 hours and 40 minutes, and Qantas aiming to have a 20 hour flight by 2020, it may be time to figure out a way to deal with jet lag for good.

In a timely manner, scientists have suggested some methods of avoiding it altogether – and they do not suggest pharmaceuticals. Researchers suggest that planning is a key factor in avoiding jet lag; passengers should prepare by adjusting their body clocks weeks in advance. They say that the body clock can only be adjusted by 90 minutes per day.

The aim is to get your body closer to the time zone that you are travelling to – so if you are going from Sydney to Manchester, you need to delay your body clock by going to bed incrementally later in the weeks before your flight.

Researchers say that light is the essential factor in preventing jet lag, and that airlines can help by adjusting cabin lighting when appropriate. Some other suggestions that researchers have offered airlines include offering meditation sessions to help people relax, and improved cabin pressurisation to help breathing.

Future study is set to examine other health effects that flying has on people. They aim to get passengers to wear tracking devices which assess physical activity, sleep and posture, and give them a survey about their mental state and diet whilst on the flight. This is in an attempt to assess how changes in air pressure and oxygen on the plane affect people’s wellbeing and levels of fatigue.

They also suggest avoiding alcohol and eating healthy foods whilst on the flight.