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Indians require two days and light diets to get over jet lag

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ETW StaffMumbai

With the arrival of the festive season, most travellers have begun drawing up their holiday plans.  However more often than not, what can act as a dampener is the phenomenon of ‘jet lag’ which when flying out to long haul destinations takes the fun out of travelling. The findings of a global travel search site reveal that two out of five Indians have said that it takes them two days to get over jet lag. The survey undertaken by Skyscanner sheds light on the most popular anti-jet lag techniques used by Indian air passengers.

Though it takes Indian travellers on an average two days to overcome jet lag, 40 per cent of the younger generation (18-24 year age group) admitted to requiring one day whilst eight per cent of travellers in the 55 plus age group required a minimum of four days. Out of the 1000 Indian travellers that took part in Skyscanner’s survey, close to 900 travellers said they had flown long-haul in the past year and 37 per cent of the travellers said they experienced the worst effects of jet lag when flying west to a later time zone.

Eating a light diet of healthy fresh food was seen as the most popular anti-jet lag technique amongst Indian travellers with three out of five travellers said they had tried this to offset the effects of a long-haul flight. Following closely behind was stretching and taking light exercise on the flight (45 per cent), exercising and getting fresh air on the day of travel (41 per cent) and setting their watch to the new time-zone (40 per cent). Extreme forms of combating jet lag such as staying awake throughout the flight and sleeping only when they arrived at their destination was seen by women more than men with 29 per cent of women resorting to this measure as compared to 24 per cent of men.

Speaking about effectively combating the effects of jet lag, Tony Gherardin, national medical adviser, Travel Doctor – TMVC said, “In an ideal world, to prevent jetlag we should begin taking on the habits of destination time zone before we leave home. That is, eating at the same time and sleeping or resting at the same time as what you would be doing at that destination. Of course this isn’t always possible at home or even while flying. What works reasonably well is to eat light meals and keep hydrated, avoiding heavy foods and alcohol.” Regarding sleeping tablets, Gherardin advises, “safe use of sleeping tablets or melatonin once you’ve reached your destination can also assist in getting your body in sync with the time zone.’

Though herbal remedies (20 per cent), sleeping tablets (15 per cent), anti-jet lag pills (13 per cent) and melatonin (12 per cent) were used by many of the Indian air passengers in the survey, most passengers found them ineffective. Further the survey raised some eye-raising findings on the effects of alcohol at 30,000 feet. Whilst the majority of travellers (60 per cent) said they had avoided alcohol on-board, one in five travellers stated that they had consumed alcohol in an attempt to offset jetlag with more men (25 per cent) than women (13 per cent) admitting that this remedy had been successful in negating the effects of jet lag.

Kavitha Gnanamurthy, marketing manager, Skyscanner India, commented, “With most Indian travellers making their end of year holiday plans to long haul destinations, our survey comes in handy for those who do not know how to combat the inevitable. Though we all have our own way of dealing with jet lag, simple measures such as eating light healthy foods and hydrating oneself whilst avoiding alcohol can go a long way in starting your holiday on a good note.”

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