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All The Successful (And Not So Successful) Ways Travellers Beat Jet Lag

We all know there’s a lot to love about living in Australia, but there’s one downside: it locks us into a lifetime of long flights and an honestly unfair share of jet lag.

And yet, some people manage to step off a long-haul flight looking downright respectable. Is it witchcraft, serious hydration or an intense in-air skincare routine that helps them look so fresh when they land?

Obviously, some people have found the secret to beating jet lag — or at least have a few tricks up their sleeves. A study by Qantas has revealed the most popular ways that travellers on long-haul flights are trying to beat jet lag.

The study looked at what passengers did before, during and after a 9-17 hour-long flight. The results show a few clear tricks: 54 per cent use ear plugs or noise cancelling headsets, 38 per cent drank alcohol during a flight, and half the people surveyed changed their bedtime to match the new timezone after a flight.

Lots of people sleep on flights — 60 per cent, in fact — with 12 per cent using sleeping aid medication and 21 per cent avoiding caffeinated drinks. Plenty of people change their diet after a flight, with 39 per cent choosing healthy foods after touchdown, and 24 per cent eating heavier or lighter meals to help settle in. Overall, the study revealed that women are much more likely than men to use light, alter their food intake and wear compression stockings.

But even if you hack the hell out of your long-haul flight, some of us end up looking (and feeling) dishevelled anyway. According to specialist sleep researcher Dr Yu Sun Bin, while most people actively try to reduce their jet lag, they’re not doing what’s most effective.

“We know that going outdoors for sunlight at the destination is one of the most important strategies for syncing the body clock, but only 47 per cent of passengers made the effort to do it,” she said. “Drinking more than a few glasses of alcohol will make jetlag worse. It might make us fall asleep faster but beyond a certain point, it also disrupts the quality of sleep and causes dehydration.”

The study was part of Qantas and the University of Sydney’s ongoing studies to identify scientifically backed methods to reduce fatigue. Along with the findings from Qantas’ first Project Sunrise research flight from New York to Sydney, the study will help shape the future of airline travel.

Check out the full results of the study here if you, like me, are just now realising that you need up give your flight routine a glow-up. We’ve also got hacks (that work) to stay fresh on flights.

(Lead image: Joyce Romero / Unsplash)