27 Apr Tips for dealing with long haul flying from a chiropractor.
There is a theory that flying in an easterly direction results in worse jet-lag. Perhaps there is some scientific reason for that, but in my opinion when travelling for vacation purposes, the jet-lag is always worse when travelling in the direction of ending your holiday! The excitement and anticipation of the upcoming adventure means that you get into the timezone of your holiday location easily and quickly. However there are some helpful tips that I have used to help me with this challenge.
I estimate that over the past 20 years, I have flown from Europe to Australia approximately 15-20 times. The following tips are in part inspired by my years as a health practitioner and in part from just learning from experience.
- As soon as you get on the plane set your watch to the correct time zone of the country that you are going to. Then, try to catch some sleep when it is night time in the country you are going to.
- Request an aisle seat (Yes I've only ever travelled in economy) and get up at least every hour during your awake time and walk the aisles. This helps keep the blood flowing and also helps you avoid stiffening up too much in your legs and back.
- Do not drink excessive alcohol. Flying dehydrates you so do not add to the dehydration by drinking alcohol. On the other hand drink plenty of water. Request a full bottle of water from the cabin crew and keep sipping on it throughout the whole flight.
- Do not eat the omelette! Surely the omelettes on a flight are not made with egg? They taste weird (as does most plane food) and can not do you any good. In place of eating all the plane food options, pack nuts and dried fruit snacks to keep you from getting hungry and allowing you to minimise your plane food meals. We recently flew with our 18 month old daughter and we packed all her food and fed her what she is used to. Whether it was that level of planning or pure fluke, she flew so well and was not really effected by jet lag at all.
- Arrange your flight to land in your destination in the morning or lunch time. Then get outdoors and see some sunlight and fresh air. Keep yourself occupied and do you best to stay awake until at least 9pm. Then go to bed without electronic devices near you. If you wake in the night, do not plug in to digital devices but stay relaxed and keep your eyes shut until you fall asleep again.
- Do not take sleeping pills on the plane or when you go to bed in your destination. Medicating to sleep, in all circumstances should only be considered in light of severe circumstances. Certainly taking a long haul flight is not a severe circumstance.
So, as someone who has travelled extensively, plus had over 20 years as a practising chiropractor plus mastered the art of travelling with an 18 month old long haul and surviving (Thriving) to tell the tale I hope the points help you as you undertake your next long haul flight.
Dr Michael Bloom
Dr Michael Bloom has a wide and varying interest in what it takes to live a healthy and happy life. He has over 20 years experience as a chiropractor in Europe and Australia and has attended over 40 post graduate seminars and courses. Currently he has a particular interest in the declining posture of society and the health implications associated with poor posture.
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