For many of our UK and European based guests, boarding an 8/9hour flight is unavoidable in transporting their minds, bodies and souls to the sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean. However, this time zone vs body confusion can result in bizarre sleeping patterns and an overwhelming tiredness on arrival at your luxury destination. We explore how you can make jet lag work in your favour, from prevention and cures, to optimising your time on-island.
What Is “Jet Lag”?
This well known, and well used, phrase describes the collective name for symptoms that occur when rapidly crossing time zones. These symptoms include insomnia, loss of appetite, mild depression and dehydration. As one or more of these symptoms can sometimes spoil your holiday, it is important to understand the condition fully, and take steps to prevent it.
What Causes Jet Lag?
Certain forms of long-haul travel that involve crossing several time zones, disturb your natural biorhythm (body clock). Your body suffers confusion as the surroundings it experiences do not match the light levels, eating patterns and sounds it is accustomed to. Jet lag only occurs when passengers travel from East to West, or West to East. Flying due South or North ensures you don’t stray from your recognised time zone.
How Can Jet Lag Be Avoided?
The truth is, without control over the rotation of the Earth, Jet Lag will always find a way of catching up with you. However, we’ve compiled our top tips to taking the steps to ensure you arrive at your luxury destination with nothing but a smile on your well rested face.
- Adjust your internal clock in advance – At least 3 days before your long-haul flight, gradually adjust your sleeping pattern and eating times to match with those at your destination (to the best of your ability). This way, when you arrive in paradise you can slip smoothly into your new relaxing routine.
- Fly at night – Studying your local airport timetables and opting for an overnight flight, will allow your body to readjust more easily and you are far more likely to give in to forty winks.
- Avoid those stimulants – For 12-15 hours before departure, curtail coffee, try and stay away from tea and kick out caffeine all together. This widely consumed stimulant disturbs sleep and wakes you up more often.
- That goes for alcohol too – The reduced pressure of the cabin and the altitude changes quickly dehydrate passengers, which quickens the effect of alcohol in your system. This equals a head-splitting hangover which is not the ideal start to your holiday.
- Get outside – Spending a large proportion of your afternoon/evening in the sunshine (after you’ve cleared baggage) will override your body clock and hasten the reset process.
- Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is always advised during long haul travel, but making sure you drink at least 1/2 pint of water for every hour you are in the air will keep you fresh and alert.
- Use medication wisely – Sleeping pills may seem like the answer, but are best tested before you fly, so you can tailor the effects to your needs.
- Catch some zzz’s on your flight – Our friends over at Travel Head Pillow, who’s expertise is your comfort and rest during long journeys, have engineered a fantastic new product. Their memory foam filled pillow gives ergonomic support and will ensure you never lose sleep on the go again. We think they’re perfect for your long-haul flight to the Caribbean, and will provide you with that extra defence against Jet Lag.
An App For Everything
In the age of technology that is available at the tip of your ever dextrous fingers, it’s good to know that a small set of geniuses have modernised the Jet Lag combat process, and compiled an app bursting with handy tips, calendars, reminders and flight information. The Jet Lag App is a safe way of ensuring that your sleeping patterns stay in sync, despite the continent or time zone. With the quick input of your flight details, the app calculates the best advice for you and created a personalised schedule, alongside handy alarms, top tips and comprehensive user guides. Well worth the download
Can I Make Jet Lag Work In My Favour?
The short answer? Yes. To begin with, guests to the Caribbean from the US and Canada are usually less inclined to experience as much Jet Lag, with their airlines flying due south to their tropical destinations. However, UK and European guests will experience a 5 hour minimum time lapse, which can be carefully manipulated to suit even the most weary of travellers.
The majority of UK flights depart during the middle of the day, meaning that after you’ve arrived at your destination, collected your baggage and slipped into your private transfer, you arrive at your luxury villa by sunset. By the time 10pm comes around, most guests are exhausted (with their body clock set to 2/3am GMT) so they slip into a well deserved slumber. Waking at 6am after a much needed 8 hours sleep, visitors experience the best hours of the Caribbean day. Pre-sunrise the island is cool, calm and utterly peaceful. An early stroll along the beach is an idyllic way to begin your stay.