travel experiences

Most people encounter no problems with time zone differences of up to two hours, but fly further - for example, to and from America - and you will. Yet according to Dr. David O'Connell, author of "Jetlag: How to Beat It"* with the following measures you could virtually eliminate it. Here are some popular measures you can take in advance:

Wear two watches several days before your journey - one set at home time, the other set to destination time. Begin living, eating and sleeping in the destination time zone as much as possible aiming to alter your body-clock by at least three hours. As it usually takes at least 72 hours to adjust to a new time zone, for long-haul journeys of three days or less, try to stick to UK time.

Flight times - Book flights which arrive during the day or evening at your destination, not in the middle of the night as that will slow down your adjustment to the new time zone.

Flight direction -  Travel west if possible - when travelling East jet-lag is twice as bad because you lose time.

Reset your body clock - The following techniques can help reset your body clock:

Inducing sleep - Serotonin: The higher the levels of this mood enhancing brain chemical, the more likely you are to sleep. Raise levels naturally by eating foods high in trypopan, an amino acid from which serotonin is made. These include milk, yoghurt, turkey, tuna and chicken (sorry vegans!).

Darkness - Dim the lights or switch them off. The brain associates dark with sleeping and is more likely to start producing melatonin.

Thermal comfort zone - People sleep better when they feel comfortable, neither too hot nor cold.

Staying awake - Light: Research has found that levels of the hormone can be reduced by exposure to light - equivalent to bright sunshine or a strong lamp. While natural sunshine might get you through to 6pm, the use of light visors or portable lamps can help stave off sleep after sunset.

Exercise - On average, half-an-hour of brisk exercise should keep you awake for around two hours.

Chills - Open the window, increase the air conditioning or take a cold shower. Being cold makes people more alert.

Stimulants - Keep your mind active by doing crosswords or listening to up-beat music. Coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks prevent sleep by stimulating the central nervous system.

Homeopathic solutions - might be worth visiting. They are a commercial health store. The author is not connected to them and the info is for your guidance only. A competitor can be found at

*Jetlag: How to Beat It (Ascendent Publishing, £11.99 tel: 020-7584 9779).


how to cope with the fatigue flights (departing from the UK):

1. LOS ANGELES (8 hours behind) 10 hour flight.

BEST: time to leave: 8pm, arriving 2pm.
DO: sleep immediately you board for eight hours if possible.
DON'T: have a light lunch on arrival or fall asleep for the rest
of the day.

2. NEW YORK (5 hours behind) 8 hour flight.

BEST: time to leave: 11am, arriving 2pm.
DO: go out as soon as you arrive, drink coffee - anything to stay awake.
DON'T: have a heavy dinner or anything that will tempt sleep before at least 10pm.

3. RIO DE JANEIRO (4 hours behind) 11 hour flight)

BEST: time to leave: 10.15am arriving 5.15pm.
DO; sleep for the first two to three hours of the flight.
DON'T: Drink alcohol while flying, or sleep before 10pm. Brazilian Time.

4. CAPE TOWN (2 hours ahead) 11 hour 50 minute flight.

BEST: time to leave: 6.20pm. arriving 8.10am next day.
DO: have a light dinner one hour into the flight, then sleep.
DON'T: stay up watching videos or drink alcohol without replenishing with water.

5. BOMBAY (5-and-a-half hours ahead) 8 hour flight.

BEST: time to leave: 10.25pm. arriving 11.55am next day.
DO: sleep on the plane and nap for two hours on arrival followed by an undemanding evening.
DON'T: immediately fall into a deep, long, sleep, eat a heavy meal or drink heavily.

6. SYDNEY (11 hours ahead) 20 hour flight.

BEST: time to leave: 11am, arriving 6pm. next day.
DO: have a big breakfast, put on your eye mask and doze or sleep for at least 8 hours on the flight. Drink at least 3 litres of water.
DON'T: stay awake too long - UK day is Australian night so the faster you adapt the better.

7. BANGKOK (5 hours ahead) 11 hour flight.

BEST: time to leave: 9.40pm, arriving 1.40pm next day.
DO: stay awake for the first four hours of the flight.
DON'T: have a two hour nap on arrival, stay awake for the rest of the day.

8. HONG KONG (8 hours ahead) 11 hour 50 minute flight.

BEST: time to leave: 2. 45pm, arriving 10.35am the next day.
DO: sleep as soon as you can on the flight.
DON'T: brave the next day feeling exhausted; allow yourself a two hour doze on arrival.


 Enjoy your flight!

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