Qantas Airlines is changing their cabin interiors to help flyers
Don’t let jet lag knock you out.
Studies show that more than 90% of us suffer from jet lag when flying through multiple time zones — and Australian-based Qantas Airlines announced this week that it’s trying to minimize the effects.
It’s doing that by implementing new technologies aboard the world’s first nonstop flight from Perth, Australia, to London, England, making the “color and intensity of the jet’s interior lights mimic dawn a dusk,” according to the Financial Review. The report went on to add that: “[cabin] temperatures and specially made meals will aim to put passengers to sleep or keep them awake — depending on the time at the destination.”
The experts working on these cabin changes believe they may keep travelers’ circadian rhythms — which influence natural sleep cycles — from being thrown off balance by the effects of flying through multiple time zones.
There may be something to this: Previous research, including a study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, has found that exposing travelers to light at specific times can advance or decelerate their body’s circadian “phase shifts.” That’s a fancy way of saying that exposing travelers to light at specially-regulated times can help ease their transitions to local time zones right as their journey begins.
High-tech as Qantas’ new approach to mitigating jet lag may be, others have more old-fashioned hacks — though it’s unclear if any of them actually work. Queen Elizabeth uses a hard candy known as “barley sugar” — a treat made from cream of tartar, barley water and cane sugar — as a cure.
NBC’s “Today Show” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford recommends drinking a lot of water and adjusting to the local time at your destination as soon as possible.
And British actress Naomie Harris suggested walking on grass barefoot.
#homesweethome and loving it!!! Nowhere beats #London in summer!! Got off the plane and did my two 'absolute musts' post flying… an oxygen facial (thank you @elemis !!), and grounding… the best way to get in sync with a new time zone is to whip your shoes and socks off and connect with the earth for a good 20 -45 minutes!! Do that whenever you fly and it’ll help your #jetlag !! #grounding #earthing
Clearly, there are plenty of tips and tricks that travelers swear by to beat jet lag once and for all, but Moneyish consulted sleep experts to find out what science has to say about getting your body clock back on track. Here are their tips.
1. Shift your sleep schedule: “Start to ‘pre-shift’ if possible,” says Dr. Allison Siebern, a professor at Stanford School of Medicine’s Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. This means adjusting your sleep schedule in small increments (waking up half an hour earlier or later for a few days beforehand) to make the switch less of a shock. Try Jet Lag Rooster — a free online calculator that takes into account your travel origin and destination — which tells you when to fall asleep, what to eat, and even when to shower.
2. Get some natural light: “What naturally turns your brain on is exposure to light,” says Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “If you want to get on local time… get up in the morning, go out, and get exposed to light.”
3. Change your eating schedule: “Eat at the local time,” suggests Dr. Feinsilver. “When everyone’s having breakfast, have breakfast,” to help adjust to the local environment.
4. Try melatonin: The sleep-regulating hormone melatonin can be boosted through over-the-counter supplements. But take them sparsely — Dr. Siebern says that pills that have about one-tenth the strength of the standard dosage (3 to 5 milligrams) are sufficient.
5. Avoid alcohol: Skip the in-flight bloody Mary. “Alcohol causes very abnormal sleep… It also brings out snoring and sleep apnea,” warns Dr. Siebern.
This story was originally published on Dec. 27. 2017, and has since been updated with the news of Qantas Airlines’ new efforts to combat jet lag on long haul flights.
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