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Jet Lag


6 Common Mistakes We Make When Trying to Beat Jet Lag

Posted Friday 25 May 2018 12:10 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

If you’re setting off for the summer in the next couple of months, here are the common mistakes you shouldn’t make when trying to avoid the dreaded jet lag.

Sticking to your normal sleeping pattern in the weeks leading up to your flight

Even if your normal sleeping pattern is a healthy 8 hours of ‘early to bed, early to rise’, it’s still a good idea to start modifying it at least a week or two before you travel. Part of the problem with jet lag is that you essentially shock your body into an entirely new routine without warning. Building up a new sleeping pattern gradually – by going to bed a little earlier or later each night in accordance with your destination’s time difference – can help ease you into a new time zone. That way, by the time you reach your destination, your circadian rhythm already has a head start.

Relying on caffeine and alcohol when flying

When we fly, many of us fall into the trap of enjoying a tipple or two to help us sleep, or a strong coffee to keep us alert. But neither of these are good options when it comes to avoiding jet lag. No matter how much better they make you feel in the short term, coffee and alcohol are both dehydrating, and this is a common factor in many cases of jet lag. Symptoms like headaches and fatigue are worsened as a result.

Thinking any seat will do on your flight

If you’re heading off on a long-haul flight, bear in mind that not all seating is created equal. Remaining stagnant throughout a long flight is a significant factor in many cases of jet lag, while stretching and moving regularly have been shown to combat symptoms. With this in mind, the ideal seat should be by the aisle, not the window, and should provide you with plenty of leg room for carrying out simple stretches every 15 minutes.

Forgetting to adjust your watch

The first thing you should do when you sit down on the plane is adjust your watch to fit the time zone of your destination. This simple action forces you to make a conscious note of what time your body should think it is, reminding you to take action to make this the case. From this point on, aim to sleep and eat in accordance with what your watch is saying.

Using comfort foods to keep you going

When we’re tired, we have a tendency to fall back on fatty comfort foods as a source of energy, but this isn’t going to benefit you in the long run. Snacks like chocolate are high in sugar, which will lead to a brief surge in energy and an inevitable crash. Instead, make your first meal upon arrival a protein and nutrient-rich option, allowing you to burn off energy slowly and see you through your first day.

Treating yourself to a nap the minute you arrive at your destination

The very worst thing you can do after a long-haul flight is immediately crawl into bed, unless your new time zone dictates that it’s time to do so. Taking a nap when you arrive means you’ll wake up feeling wide awake in a few hours… just in time to go back to bed.

If you arrive during the day, you must do everything you can to stay awake until night time in order to avoid jet lag. Get out into the sunlight, as this will boost your energy levels, and set your alarm early the next morning so you don’t end up sleeping in.

Another mistake we make? Forgetting that effective medication can help you avoid jet lag. Melatonin – your body’s natural sleep hormone – is available in the medication Circadin, which can regulate your sleep schedule on holiday. Contact Express Pharmacy today on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.


Planning Your Summer Getaway? Here’s How to Avoid Jet Lag

Posted Thursday 10 May 2018 09:37 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

Planning your summer getaway? Here’s how to avoid jet lag

Nearly 93% of travellers experience jet lag at some point, so here’s how to stop it ruining your holiday

For many of us, the arrival of sunshine immediately inspires us to book that all important summer holiday. It’s hard to resist the draw of a couple of weeks stretched out beneath the blazing sun, but for too many of us jet lag can put a serious dampener on our getaway.

Luckily, it is possible to avoid jet lag and enjoy your holiday from the moment you step off the plane. The first step to beating jet lag is understanding it, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to answer all your questions.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag occurs when your normal sleep pattern is disturbed after a long flight. Due to a shift in time zones, your body clock — or circadian rhythm — has to adjust to a new schedule, which can lead to sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

Who gets jet lag?

Jet lag can affect anyone travelling across time zones, and the only fluctuations in severity are a result of personal differences. For example, people who stick to rigid routines at home are often worse affected by jet lag than people with more fluid schedules. Young children are also often less affected by changing time zones.

The main factor which determines the extent of jet lag is the distance of travel. The more time zones you travel across, the more severe your jet lag is likely to be. What’s more, travelling west to east usually results in worse jet lag than travelling east to west, reflecting the greater difficulty of advancing your body clock compared to delaying it.

What causes jet lag?

The dominant cause of jet lag is travelling across time zones, which alters your circadian rhythm and makes it difficult to adjust to a new schedule of sleeping and waking. However, other factors which can impact on the severity of your jet lag include:

Your pre-flight condition, particularly tiredness, anxiety, stress or being hungover

High altitude and increased cabin pressure, which can lead to swelling and tiredness

Alcohol consumption, as the impact alcohol has on the body increases two-fold when you’re flying

Dehydration, which can be caused by alcohol but also through lack of water and a reliance on strong coffee

Lack of exercise, which is why passengers should stretch, get up and move regularly throughout their flight

How do you know if you have jet lag?

- The main symptoms of jet lag include:

- Difficulty waking up in the morning and sleeping at night

- Tiredness and exhaustion

- Poor sleep quality

- Finding it hard to stay awake throughout the day

- Lack of concentration

- Memory problems

- Indigestion, constipation and diarrhoea

How do you prevent jet lag?

Symptoms of jet lag usually improve on their own after a few days as your body clock adjusts to its new time zone. However, there are steps you can take to avoid severe jet lag.

Before you travel: make sure you get plenty of rest, following good sleep practices before going to bed. Try changing your routine gradually, going to bed and waking up an hour or two earlier or later than you normally would (in accordance with your new destination). You should also avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and large meals before bed.

During your flight: drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and stay active by stretching and walking regularly. If your flight takes place during normal sleeping hours (in line with your destination) then try to sleep.

After you arrive: change your sleep schedule to fit your new location as quickly as possible, and set an alarm to avoid oversleeping. Go outside during the day, as natural light will help your body clock adjust. Try to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime for your new location without relying on naps to perk you up.

You can also use effective medication to avoid jet lag. Circadin is a prescription medication which acts as a short-term treatment for insomnia. When taken whole one to two hours before bed, Circadin provides melatonin: the body’s natural sleep hormone, making sleep easier. This can help treat symptoms of jet lag.

Contact Express Pharmacy for guidance and treatment for a wide range of health concerns, including jet lag. You can get in touch today using our fast and discreet live chat service, or by calling 0208 123 07 03.

Related Products: Circadin
Related Categories: Jet Lag

Air Travel Tips: Stay Safe & Healthy When Flying

Posted Monday 17 July 2017 16:12 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

Get the most out of your summer holiday by making sure you arrive as happy and healthy as possible

Everybody looks forward to their summer holiday, but few of us are as excited for the plane journey beforehand. Whether you are afraid of flying or just hate cramped, hot conditions, many in-flight experiences leave much to be desired.

Here are a few of our top tips on making international travel as comfortable as possible.

What can you do aboard your flight?

Even the most confident flyer wants to know they’re doing everything they can to stay as safe as possible whilst en route to their holiday destination. Thankfully, there are some simple precautions you can take.

Dress comfortably

Comfort is key when you’re on a plane, especially if you’re on a long haul flight and have restricted movement for hours at a time. Opt for loose, light layers that let your body breathe, and be sure to bring a jumper or cardigan to put on if you feel cold at any point.

Blood clots are one of many people’s biggest fears regarding a long haul flight, so it’s important to prevent restriction on your body where you can, including through your clothing. You may also have seen special compression socks available in airports or travel stores – these are designed to safeguard against deep vein thrombosis and can be a welcome addition to hand luggage.

Listen to the pre-flight briefing

Some people see the safety demonstration at the start of a flight as a chance to switch off, but the information included in this briefing could be life saving if an emergency does occur on your flight.

Be sure to listen carefully to the information being given, paying particular attention to where your nearest exit is and how to put your oxygen mask on correctly.

Get to know your seatbelt

Aeroplane seatbelts are notoriously fiddly, so make sure you’re familiar with the logistics of fastening and unfastening your belt with ease. You should also be paying attention to the seatbelt light above your head, as this will inform you when you need to be in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.

Relax

One of the worst things you can do on a flight is get stressed. Stress increases your levels of cortisol, which boosts your adrenaline and makes you feel restless. This isn’t what you want when you’re spending the next few hours stuck in the same environment. Take your mind off your flight, bring a book or try to sleep, and let your body and your mind relax.

Looking after your health: what is altitude sickness?

One of the biggest risks to your health when flying is altitude sickness, which is exactly as it sounds: feelings of nausea and discomfort when high in the air.

Why do you feel sick when flying?

Altitude sickness is a response to a higher altitude and lower air pressure, which can have a negative effect on the body. This combination means that the air you breathe has less oxygen per breath. It also causes the air to be dryer and water to evaporate faster.

Aside from the obvious sickness, symptoms of altitude sickness can include tiredness, backache, headache, muscle cramp and light-headedness. Certain individuals may be more susceptible to the condition than others, such as people with existing health conditions like heart disease.

What can you do to avoid altitude sickness?

Hydration is key to tackling altitude sickness, as a lack of hydration is a key component of the sickness itself. Drink plenty of water and be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

You should also try to move around aboard your flight when you can. Doing gentle stretches whilst sitting and taking short walks along the aisle can help reduce your risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Finally, you should consider medication to help treat your altitude sickness. Acetazolamide is an effective treatment which reduces the amount of excess fluid in your head and lungs, making it easier to breathe. This medication is available from Express Pharmacy.

Before you set off this summer, make sure you know how to keep you and your family safe when you’re up in the air. For more health queries and concerns, you can contact Express Pharmacy today via our discreet Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Circadin Acetazolamide
Related Categories: Altitude Sickness Jet Lag

The Important Factors That Can Affect Jet Lag

Posted Friday 02 June 2017 11:40 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

If you have ever flown long distance, the chances are that you will have experienced jet lag to some degree. Jet lag occurs when our bodies have to rapidly adjust to a new day and night schedule, throwing our circadian rhythms out of balance and leading to feelings of exhaustion, restlessness, nausea and dizziness. It’s not pleasant, and can put a dampener on the start of your holiday, so what can you do to try and lessen your symptoms?

Unfortunately, there is no outright cure for jet lag. But there are several things you can do to ease the problem and stop a change in time zone from ruining your break.

Moving on the plane makes a difference

When on a long haul flight, your best bet is to sleep as much as you can. However, many of us find it difficult to sleep effectively on uncomfortable plane seats.

So if you’re not sleeping, the next best thing to do is get up and move around as regularly as possible. Moving around the plane — or even just doing a few simple stretches every now and then — will help keep you mentally and physically active and prevent blood clots by keeping your blood pumping. It will also help you sleep better later on, as you’ll feel less restless.

Natural light has an impact

Natural light plays a big part in your circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that bathing yourself is natural light is one of the most effective ways of combating jet lag as it encourages our release of serotonin — the hormone which provides us with energy. Once you arrive at your destination, take a short walk and indulge in a little sunlight before attempting to sleep. This will help your body get used to its new schedule.

Severity can depend on the direction you fly

The seriousness of your jet lag often changes depending in which direction you fly. Travelling eastward makes jet lag worse, because travelling in this direction causes you to lose hours in your day, making it harder for your body to catch up with itself. It’s much more difficult to adjust to losing hours than gaining them, so if you’re travelling east this summer take extra care with your sleep health.

Dehydration plays a part

Dehydration leads to many of the same symptoms as jet lag, such as fatigue, nausea, headaches and dizziness. This means that being both dehydrated and jet lagged can make your condition even worse.

Regular hits of cold glasses of water are a good way of keeping unnecessary symptoms at bay, and will also help you feel more alert. Not to mention, all those extra bathroom visits will force you to be more active on your flight!

Drinking does more harm than good

There is a myth that having a few drinks on a long haul flight will help you avoid symptoms of jet lag. Unfortunately, this is not true. In fact, the opposite is typically the case. Alcohol might help you fall asleep faster, but it’s also guaranteed to lower the quality of the sleep you are getting. This will make you feel more tired and more irritable, as well as increasing your risk of dehydration and therefore extra, unwanted symptoms.

Caffeine can help beat it

A cup of coffee can actually improve your symptoms of jet lag, but only when used in the right circumstances.

If you’re travelling west then a cup of coffee at the right point in your journey may help you stay awake for longer by providing you with an extra burst of energy.

However, drinking coffee when you’ve lost time could prove disastrous as you should be aiming to relax your body in preparation for sleep. Travelling east? Avoid caffeine.

Use Circadin

At Express Pharmacy, we stock Circadin, a prescription only medication containing Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body and is used to help treat the symptoms of jet lag. Find out more here.


How to Tackle Jet Lag

Posted Wednesday 15 February 2017 10:23 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

Whether you are travelling abroad for work or escaping it all for a relaxing week away, feeling healthy and fresh on arrival, is always a bonus. Unfortunately those trips that involve crossing multiple time zones can wreak havoc with our internal body clock – commonly known as jet lag.

Jet lag goes far beyond simple fatigue. In fact, there are a whole range of symptoms that can occur when our bodies struggle to adapt to a new light-dark schedule. Along with the common symptoms of disturbed sleep and lethargy, sufferers may experience a change in appetite, digestion, blood pressure and body temperature. And while jet lag is inevitable when you are crossing 7 or more time zones, there are a few easy tips that can greatly reduce its effects.

Here we share five easy tips to make sure jet lag does not affect your continental trip:

Say no to the drinks trolley

As tempting as it maybe to order a few glasses of wine or bottles of beer during a flight, it is something that definitely should be avoided if you are travelling long haul. Drinking alcohol may feel like a nice way to relax and may even help you nap. But the resulting dehydration will do you know favours and probably give you a nasty headache. It’s important to be aware that while alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it does not result in quality, restful sleep.

One of the most effective methods of fighting jet lag is to stay hydrated before and during your flight. This means watching your alcohol intake the week before flying to avoid dehydration.

Stay active:

A little bit of exercise before you fly is a great way to beat in-flight lethargy and you don’t necessarily need to commit to a full workout, either. Just make smart choices at the airport, instead of taking the escalators and travelators, take the stairs or carry out some light stretching before you set off for the airport.

Remember, you are going to be sat in a small space, for many hours so it is important to maintain blood circulation. Getting up and taking a walk whenever possible can help to keep your blood moving and prevent any numbness. Even whilst seated, stretching out your legs and wiggling your toes can help to keep your body in a better condition. It will also help to reduce the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis.

Time it right:

It is important to psychologically adjust to your new time zone as soon as possible so you are mentally prepared for the alteration to your sleep–wake cycle. Changing your eating schedule to match your new time zone is a great place to start. If you land in the morning, make sure you eat breakfast even if you are not hungry to get you settled sooner.

Tackle it with tech:

Adjusting your sleep schedule the week before you travel can be a tricky business, but thankfully there are plenty of apps out there that help you create and stick to a helpful sleeping plan before you go.

Choose your medication wisely:

It maybe a popular tactic, but taking sleeping pills on-flight should be avoided as they will only add to your drowsiness on arrival. However, there are other forms of medication that are better suited to tackling jet lag. Circadin is currently the only medication available with the active ingredient Melatonin – the hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle.

If you want to find out more about Circadin directly, talk to a member of our pharmacy team by using our Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Circadin