Travel Africa looks at a couple of new products to reduce jet lag, and highlights some of the tried and tested methods that will help you arrive feeling fresh.
Putting the squeeze on
Most people know about the impact of flying long distances on our internal (Circadian) clock, but less know about another key factor – oxygen starvation, due to there being 20-25 per cent less oxygen in an airplane cabin than our bodies are used to. The influential, non-profit, Aviation Health Institute (AHI), as well as the NHS, believes that lower levels of oxygen play a significant role in jet lag.
To combat this when travelling to and from events, elite athletes in Australia have been wearing Skins Travel and Recovery tights underneath their tracksuits. These high-tech garments use gradient compression to maintain a healthy circulation, minimise swelling and dehydration by directly countering oxygen starvation. While helpful in keeping Olympians fresh, these tights are no less beneficial to travellers, whether flying long-haul for pleasure or business. In a recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers found that Qantas pilots and passengers wearing these tights on flights that lasted over five hours had significantly improved circulation and mental awareness, and decreased leg pain.
Unlike other compression socks or stockings which apply pressure indiscriminately, Skins Travel and Recovery tights use fabric panels which are stitched together so that pressure is applied directly to specific muscles, which increases venous return (the flow of oxygenated blood back to the heart) by up to 30 per cent with all its attendant benefits.
Thankfully the Lycra and Meryl Microfibre has been treated with an antibacterial material to help keep you smelling as fresh as you feel. The Skins Travel and Recovery tights retail at around £60 and come in twelve different sizes to ensure wearers can get a perfect fit. They are available at independent sports shops or online outlets.
For more details visit www.skins.net
Getting a jump start
While the Skins tights successfully tackle the effects of reduced oxygen while flying, a novel new product is aimed at helping to counteract the affects caused by the disruption of your Circadian clock, the internal system that dictates the usual timing of eating, sleeping, hormone regulation and body temperature. One effect of long-haul flights across time zones is that your brain produces less alpha-waves (electromagnetic oscillations in the brain or brain waves), which are usually produced during a normal resting period. This usually results in travellers feeling disorientated and unable to concentrate at normal levels.
The Alpha-Stim SCS uses microcurrent electrical therapy to help the brain produce the same amount of alpha-waves that would be produced during a normal resting period, effectively jump starting the body’s cellular activity. While this product is new, the technology is not and has been used to treat conditions such as insomnia, chronic fatigue, depression and migraines. Retailing in the UK at over £400, it is available at www.themicrocurrentsite.co.uk/
Time-tested tips to further reduce jet lag
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after the flight to avoid dehydration.
• Sleep well in the days before the flight. Start adjusting your bed times by an hour a day if travelling to a distant time zone.
• Set your watch to the time of destination when you board the plane.
• Sleep on the plane if it is nighttime at your destination.
• Stay awake during your flight if it is daytime at your destination.
• Avoid coffee, alcohol and unnecessary medication while in flight.
• Eat lightly on board.
• Exercise while on the plane. Don’t just walk around the cabin – stretch in your chair as well.