Jet lag – my recommendations

Mum has a flight from London that takes just over 12 hours, a few hours stopover at Singapore Changi Airport and then a flight taking just under 8 hours arriving at Sydney 0655.

I really think it can’t hurt to try the Entrain app, despite mixed reviews. But even without the app, you can try following these points:

(1) Buy a mini spray bottle (less than 100 ml) and fill with some water and a tiny bit of lavender essential oil. This can help to hydrate your skin while on the plane but the lavender also helps you to feel sleepy. Also, if you don’t have one already, buy an eye mask to completely block out light.

(2) Start eating high protein meals at breakfast and high carb at dinnertime.

(3) For a few nights leading up to your flight, shift your bedtime later and later so that it becomes closer to Sydney time. And get up later and later, so you have the right amount of sleep. Yes, this is the opposite to common advice, which says that you should start going to bed later if you are travelling East and earlier if you are travelling West. But the time difference between London and Sydney is so huge that I don’t think this gradual training will work, trying to shift the body clock towards the new system. I want you to stay awake on that first flight even though you are flying out of London in the evening. Although it is your evening, you know that we are 11 hours ahead so it will be our morning. A good night’s sleep, having only been up for a few hours, should help. You want to have slept well when you get on the plane in London, and you don’t want to be feeling like going to sleep.

(3) Before you leave London, set your iPhone to show the time in London, Singapore and Sydney. (I don’t know if your cheap phone will do this.)

(4) As soon as you get on the first flight, change your watch, and the clock on your cheap phone, to Sydney time. Use this one to determine when you eat and sleep. You can use the World Clock on your iPhone, and the clocks in the airport, to see the time for the flight from Singapore, but try to behave as far as possible as if you are already in Sydney.

(5) STAY AWAKE on the first flight. Don’t go to sleep when the staff dim the lights. Read, watch films and eat when you want. Try to get an aisle seat for this flight so you can get up and down and wander around the plane. After all, you shouldn’t be tired because you should have been sleeping well beforehand, and sleeping later than usual.

(6) Conversely, try to sleep as much as possible on the second flight. You should be tired by this point! Use that lavender spray and the eye mask and ignore the cabin crew changing light levels and bringing you meals. DON’T EAT! You should be fasting, and you probably won’t sleep for the whole eight hours but you want to sleep as much as possible. This will help you to get through the day when you get to us.

(4) When you arrive in Sydney, try to stay awake for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. You don’t want to do what I did the first time I visited here, fall asleep in the middle of the day and spend the next five days on an inverted timetable – waking when the rest of the city is asleep. Sydney is not like Amsterdam and there aren’t any all-night coffee shops in Manly, believe me.

(5) For the first few days in Sydney, go to bed using the lavender and eye mask, and leave the blinds open. I will creep in and take off your eye mask at night time and the light in the morning should prompt you to get up.

(6) Eat a big breakfast when you get up, containing protein. Those mice researchers were on to something.

(7) Go for a walk or even a run, in the morning, no matter how awful you feel. Remember, you are trying to adjust your biological clock. The light will help you to reset it quicker than just getting up and hanging around in the house.

(8) Eat carbs for dinner, but don’t eat too late.


About scimumsam

An ex scientist living in Australia, currently tutoring maths and science and homeschooling my own children. I blog about science and maths education on, and homeschooling (infrequently) on lookingslantwise.
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