Are you wondering how to survive that long haul flight?

I think it’s safe to say that no one enjoys long-haul flights, but there are ways that you can be more prepared to make it easier on yourself and avoid jet lag.

If you are like me anything over 4 hours seems to drag on forever. In most cases dreading the flight and being unprepared can add to the stress, so being prepared for the flight is as essential as what you do during it.


Approach the flight with a positive attitude

Depending on whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can start by looking at the flight as an exciting adventure. This ensures you are mentally prepared to have a good experience rather than an unpleasant experience.

In the days leading up to the flight I recommend sticking to fairly light and healthy meals, moving as much as possible and keeping hydrated – ie. avoid alcohol. This will prepare you for the flight both physiologically and biomechanically.

Surviving long flight tips

Drink plenty of pure water – don’t wait until you are thirsty as this is an indication that you are already partially dehydrated.

Hydrate the night before you fly – I like to add minerals to my water such a Himalayan pink salts which contain over 86 trace minerals.

Avoid alcohol before, and during the flight – this adversely affects circulation and dehydrates.

Avoid caffeine and soft drinks – stick to water.

Eat just enough – you don’t want to be hungry but you don’t want to be stuffed and feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Choose low salt, low sugar and high fibre foods – for example mainly vegetables, fruit and protein.

Make sure to keep moving

Moving: walk up and down the aisles as it’s important to flex and stretch your legs to encourage blood flow. Whenever possible I get an aisle seat so it’s easier for me to get up and walk around.

Think about ordering your meals before you fly: most of the time you have the option of choosing the type of meal e.g. gluten free meals. However, you can also choose to avoid these meals and just take a few nutritious snacks with you such as raw veggies, raw nuts and fruit – although this is not always practical it is an option.

Another option is to take digestive enzymes or use digestive herbs such as ginger, fennel and peppermint; beneficial bacteria is also a great option. Not only are these helpful for the flight, they will also be helpful on your holiday to keep your good bacteria topped up and your immune system healthy.

Pre-flight tips for long haul flights

Food: In the days leading up to a long haul flight, stick with light and healthy meals.
Drink: Keep hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few days before you fly.
Move: Try to move as much as possible in the days leading up to your long haul flight as you will be sitting for hours with no movement.

All of these ensure that you are feeling at your best before you get on the plane – being prepared is key.

surviving long flight tips_2

Sleep and hygiene during the long haul flight

Sleeping: An eye mask and earplugs are great investments to improve your quality of sleep; the eye mask helps by limiting light and regulating you circadian rhythm.

Don’t resort to alcohol: Often people resort to alcohol to help them sleep. As I mentioned, alcohol is not only dehydrating but is also a depressant. Not what you need when you need to keep positive and enjoy your experience as much as possible!

Colds, bacteria etc: I use an organic defence spray to clean up my seat area, tray table and use on my hands throughout the flight. You can’t avoid the air in the plane when you are flying but you can ensure your ability to deal with bacteria and viruses is not compromised. This helps to keep you healthy – not only during the flight but after the flight as well.

Deep vein thrombosis: DVT, which is the formation of blood clots in deep veins, is a known risk on longer flights. The National Institute of Health (NIH), tips include: wearing loose and comfortable clothing, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding alcohol. If you’re at an increased risk of DVT, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings whilst travelling.

Bathroom Breaks: Timing is everything. Although standing and waiting to use the loo can be useful as you can make the most of this time to stretch and move. However, if you get the timing wrong, you could end up waiting and being uncomfortable – this can be very unpleasant!

During the meal service can be a good time to use the bathroom (if you are in an aisle seat). Once the food has been served, and there are no attendants blocking the aisle, there will be no queues for the bathroom – this could be your ideal opportunity. It may also ensure a bathroom that is still relatively clean.

Avoiding jet lag

These things just keeping coming up – avoid stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and sugar – the things that will cause fatigue during the flight and add to the effects of jet lag.

Stimulants don’t increase energy, they drain it and weaken the body’s stress fighting capabilities; which you need to avoid before, during and after a long haul flight.

Go to bed at local times

When you reach your destination it is a lot easier to stay up and go to bed later than to get up earlier in the morning so keep this in mind that flights with late afternoon or evening arrival times are preferable. This allows you time to move when you arrive and go to bed at normal times to reduce jet lag.

Find out what works for you

Let’s face it, some tips work for some people and not for others. Some people are not able to sleep on long haul flights no matter how hard they try – but keep positive and remember that this too shall pass.

Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, the state in which you arrive at your destination will have a significant impact on your trip.

So travel safe and use the strategies that I have mentioned; they will significantly reduce the stress of long haul flights.

Taking care of your nutrition and using organic herbal supplements will reduce your stress, reduce your jet lag and avoid the dreaded illness that often affects travellers on arrival of their destination.


Read more from WatchFit Expert Kerry Madgwick

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