Instant Improver

How not to have jet lag

Anyone who’s flown long haul will know the horror of craving dinner at 3am and falling asleep in your lunch. Consultant sleep physician Dr Dev Banerjee of the BMI Priory hospital in Birmingham (Thesleepclinic.org.uk) readjusts our clock.

“The worst direction to fly is east,” he says. “West, you can struggle through to the local sleep time. Your circadian clock is set to your home time. Going east it takes roughly a day per time zone to fully adjust.”

“Try going to bed earlier for a few nights before you leave,” Banerjee continues. “This will bring your sleep pattern closer to the destination’s time and is better than having a sudden change. You can find jet lag calculators online.”

“In summer, avoid direct sunlight in the days before you travel. Wear sunglasses from about 6pm, even indoors, Banerjee adds. “You can also take melatonin. Melatonin levels peak two hours before you sleep, so you can take supplements two hours before your destination’s sleep time the day before you travel and on the plane if necessary. The best thing is to consult your GP before you go.”