Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS - BY ARAM GE­SAR

Let’s face it, fly­ing across time zones is great for our spirit and our soul, yet it wreaks havoc on our internal clocks. It takes the body about one day per time zone to fully re­cover from jet lag.

A re­cent New York - Hong Kong - Sin­ga­pore - San Fran­cisco se­ries of flights in one week re­minded me the chal­lenges in fight­ing the ef­fects of jet lag ef­fec­tively.

We’re a chron­i­cally sleep-de­prived society, thanks to the de­mands of our jobs and per­sonal lives. We’re ex­tend­ing our wak­ing hours, ex­chang­ing our sleep for other ac­tiv­i­ties. We try to con­vince our­selves that “It’s OK, I don’t need to sleep as much.” But when we do this day af­ter day and night af­ter night, we end up with a “sleep debt,” and we’re fa­tigued.

“Fa­tigue is a state that re­sults from sleep loss, con­tin­u­ous hours of wake­ful­ness, dis­rup­tions of your body clock, and work­load that af­fects you both men­tally and phys­i­cally,” says Dr. Melissa Mal­lis, of M3 Alert­ness Man­age­ment. “There are in­di­vid­ual dif­fer­ences to how much sleep peo­ple need per night, and how peo­ple re­spond to sleep loss,” she adds.

It takes about two days to elim­i­nate any sleep debt within a per­son’s nor­mal sched­ule. It may seem sim­ple, but we can re­cover from sleep debt by be­ing reg­i­mented in our sleep sched­ule, and to sleep in on our days off. “What hap­pens on a Satur­day morn­ing is that you don’t make up the lost sleep hours one-for-one, but you have more deep sleep, and then you end up sleep­ing a lit­tle bit longer. Your brain re­struc­tures your sleep cy­cle. It usu­ally takes about two days - a weekend - to elim­i­nate any sleep debt with a per­son’s nor­mal sched­ule; three days if they’re work­ing nights or go­ing across time zones,” says Mal­lis. Here are sev­eral ways to com­bat Jet Leg and re­cover faster.

Sleep Early. For five or seven day trips, start a week be­fore de­par­ture start push­ing your bed time later if you’re fly­ing west, ear­lier if you’re fly­ing east to bet­ter match your des­ti­na­tion time zone. If work al­lows, start ad­just­ing your wake time as well and go into work ear­lier or later. If you’re fly­ing half way around the world, it may not be con­ve­nient to shift your sched­ule by 12 hours, but adding or sub­tract­ing a few hours will make the tran­si­tion eas­ier.

Once you ar­rive at your des­ti­na­tion time zone, if you’re there for less than three days, you should try to stay on your home clock. Longer than three days, get on the des­ti­na­tion sched­ule right away, eat lighter meals at the right time, stay awake un­til lo­cal night, and when you wake up in the morn­ing, ex­pose your­self to sun­light.

In flight, try to take a nap, min­i­mize the amount of caf­feine that you drink, and drink lots of wa­ter. To ac­tu­ally lie flat and sleep is prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant ac­tiv­ity for re­cov­ery.

Dine and Drink on Time. In ad­di­tion to chang­ing your sleep pat­terns, chang­ing your eat­ing pat­terns a few days be­fore will help your body ad­just as well. You don’t want to wake at 3AM be­cause your body thinks it’s 8AM and time for break­fast. Con­tinue this on the plane.

Pack snacks or save air­line meals un­til the ap­pro­pri­ate time. Another key fac­tor, keep hy­drated and get at least your eight glasses of wa­ter a day.

Peo­ple who spend as much time air­borne as they do on the ground, of­ten face meet­ings or work­ing din­ners as soon as they get off the air­plane. It could be the mid­dle of the night at home, but the road warrior might be sit­ting down at a multi-course meal, try­ing to close a deal. It’s bad enough that you’re tired and not even want­ing to eat, all you want is dessert. When you’re sleep de­prived, you crave high su­gar and high-fat foods. But if you eat them, you’ll get the ‘crash’ and feel a low point. Fo­cus on pro­teins,

and fruit and veg­eta­bles in­stead.

Try to con­sume a high-pro­tein diet, plus tea or cof­fee if you wish to speed up your sys­tem and keep you awake, or have a high car­bo­hy­drate meal if you wish to slow down your me­tab­o­lism, and avoid stim­u­lants such as caf­feine or sug­ars to make you sleepy.

Set your Watch and Sleep Cy­cles. As soon as you be­gin your flight, set your watch to your des­ti­na­tion time. This will let you know when you should be awake and/or asleep. If you can, on the flight, jump-start your sleep pat­terns by stay­ing awake or sleep­ing ac­cord­ing to your new sched­ule. If you should be sleep­ing, spring for the ex­tra room to stretch out in Busi­ness or First Class. If you’re lucky enough to be on a flight with flat beds, we highly rec­om­mend tak­ing ad­van­tage.

Lis­ten Up. Head­phones and the right con­tent can help you sleep or stay awake. Pack noise-can­celling head­phones to block out the sur­round­ing sounds (or amp up the noise if you need to stay awake.) Think up­beat tunes or come­dies to keep you awake. Al­ter­na­tively, an eye mask and sooth­ing tones (think what you might hear while get­ting a mas­sage) helps lull you into sleep.

Upon Ar­rival. If it’s day­time when you ar­rive, stay out­side. The nat­u­ral sun­light will help your sero­tonin lev­els ad­just to the time change. Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity such as walk­ing will also help ad­just your cir­ca­dian rhythm. Con­sider a more vig­or­ous ac­tiv­ity in the morn­ings and even a light walk in the evening. The evening ex­er­cise will help tire you out, but be sure to do it two hours be­fore bed­time to give your body enough time to wind down.

Eat Light and Right. Keep eat­ing ac­cord­ing to your new sched­ule but be sure to choose foods wisely. A pro­tein packed break­fast will sus­tain your en­ergy through­out the day and heav­ier carb-rich foods will make you sleepy. Be sure to eat those in mod­er­a­tion, as you also want to avoid any tummy trouble while you’re on va­ca­tion. Watch your al­co­hol con­sump­tion be­fore your body ad­justs. While you may think it may help you sleep, al­co­hol in­duced sleep is not high qual­ity sleep.

Keep Up Your Work­outs. Be­ing on an air­plane is no ex­cuse for skip­ping a work­out ses­sion. With longer flights than ever be­fore, a new wave of in-flight ex­er­cises may take fit­ness-on-the-fly to higher lev­els.

Sit­ting is the new smok­ing, or that’s at least ac­cord­ing to a num­ber of health ex­perts. Backed by re­cent re­search, the march against our seden­tary pro­cliv­i­ties has helped pop­u­lar­ize Fit­bits and stand­ing desks, and high­lights the lack of ac­tiv­ity pas­sen­gers get when trav­el­ing, par­tic­u­larly on a lengthy flight.

Pro­longed sit­ting can have ad­verse ef­fects on your mus­cles and over­all health. A five-hour flight may not seem long, how­ever, when com­bined with the rest of our day. Over half of an av­er­age per­son’s day is spent be­ing seden­tary. Small bouts of ex­er­cise are im­per­a­tive to main­tain­ing over­all phys­i­cal and men­tal health, es­pe­cially when com­bined with other ef­fects of fly­ing.

Cur­rently, the world’s long­est non­stop flight is Emi­rates’ Dubai-Auck­land route, last­ing roughly 17 hours and 15 min­utes. The air­line of­fers re­sources to help pas­sen­gers stay healthy on board, in­clud­ing en­er­giz­ing in-seat ex­er­cise in­struc­tions de­liv­ered through ra­dio chan­nels and pages in the in-flight mag­a­zine.

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