Jet lag is horrible; we have all felt the pain of trying to adjust to a new time zone. Those feelings like you are spaced out, unable to get to sleep or even waking up in the middle of the night. These symptoms are of a disrupted circadian rhythm. You will feel similar symptoms after a late night out on the town, the following morning. We have also all tried to conquer jet lag, in my honest opinion you cannot beat Mother Nature but you can biohack your situation in order to lessen the severity of the symptoms. This is what Qantas are trying to do here in Australia on their long haul flights.
Qantas are trying to make the colour and intensity of the cabin’s interior lights match that of dusk and dawn. Obviously we know that we cannot fully replicate nature but this biohacking of the cabin is a step in the right direction to lessen the symptoms of jet lag of their passengers.
Qantas are also setting cabin temperature and looking into meals with specific macronutrient content in order to either keep people awake or make them sleep based on the time at their destination. We know that food can have a bearing on circadian entrainment; again I think it’s another step in the right direction for the commercial behemoth.
When it comes to conventional jet lag it takes the body one day to reset the body clock by 90 minutes. The more time zones you travel through the longer it will take you to recover. So minimising the symptoms become very important, especially as many travellers are travelling for important business meetings or to see loved ones.
Phil Capps who is the Head of Product Planning and Development for Qantas understands that blue light triggers wakefulness whereas yellow and orange tones encourage sleep. It’s great that someone of his position understands the need for light type and different times of day depending on your objective.
However, there are other ways in the biohacking community to alleviate jet lag and combat issues such as disconnection with the earth. These can be found below:
When you want to sleep make sure you are wearing a black out sleep silk mask. This will allow your brain to perceive total darkness which is required for optimal sleep.
Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of spring water on board.
Ensure you bare foot is touching the metal on the seat in front of you. This will allow you to be grounded.
Wear red lens blue blocking glasses on long haul flights - Grab yours here
Always try and book a flight that lands in the evening at your destination. This way you can go straight to sleep and not have to try and stay up
Sit away from the window to minimise UV exposure. Being at high altitude you will be exposed to high levels of UV which in large doses is damaging.
If you can – Fast during the flight
These simple hacks will help you reduce jet lag and also any negative health consequences from air travel.