It’s a problem for almost every long haul flyer, but what can you do to fend off the inevitable, and dreaded, jet lag? Jet lag isn’t an illness as such, but a combination of fatigue and other symptoms which are caused by travelling quickly across different time zones. And the reason we get out of whack is that the body is fine-tuned to respond to night and day by the action of sunlight through brain chemicals, especially melatonin. Travelling to a different time zone, or across several in one trip, disrupts this essential clock. Add to that a lack of sleep before, and during, travel and jet lag can feel a lot worse. Common symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, sleepiness, difficulty with decision making, impaired judgment generally, irritability and apathy, while some people also suffer from digestive upsets, constipation and even memory lapses. There is no cure for jet lag as such, but the good news is that there are plenty of ways to help minimise the symptoms, and reduce the longevity of the problem, should you suffer from it. During your flight they include adjusting to the new time zone immediately upon on takeoff, avoiding the consumption of too much alcohol and caffeine, drinking plenty of water, and moving around the plane as much as you can – and as won’t annoy your fellow passengers. On arrival, just a few things you can do include adjusting to your new time zone quickly by exposing yourself to daylight, or a bright light to help ‘reset’ your body clock, avoiding caffeinated drinks during the day, and avoiding alcohol or coffee a few hours before heading to bed. Other suggestions to beat the lag include avoiding a daytime nap, no matter how tired you’re feeling, and using a white noise machine to help you block out annoying noises while you try to sleep. Safe travels!