Get a good flight's sleep next time you travel with these quick fixes for satisfying slumber.
Use exercise to reset your body clock or to revitalise after a long flight. Exercise in the morning of your new time zone. Take it easy for 2-3 hours before bed time and, during your flight, relax your muscles before sleep by doing gentle stretches and walking up and down the aisles.
Use caffeine strategically. Yes, it disrupts sleep, but if you know how long its effects last, it can help you to manage your sleep. Get the most from your tea or coffee by working out when you will be at your most sleepy and having a cup then, rather than drinking it throughout the day. And always avoid caffeine in the 2-3 hours prior to bed time.
Alcohol is widely used as a sleep remedy but it can disrupt sleep. Plus, while it can knock you out, it can mean you don't breathe properly. While scientific research shows that a nightcap doesn't promote sleep, if it's part of your sleep routine then it will help you. Moderation is the key.
Some sleep is always better than no sleep. Naps improve performance and alertness. Once you arrive in your new time zone, work out when your body would normally be sleeping and schedule a strategic nap for that time. Optimum nap time is 45 minutes. Any more and you'll fall into a deep sleep and wake up groggier than if you hadn't napped at all. Alternatively, a 2 hour nap allows your body to go through a full sleep cycle. Always give yourself 15 minutes to wake up from a longer nap and don't nap too close to your main sleep period.
Be aware of when you're going to be sleepiest and don't book important meetings for that time. For example, travel from London to Hong Kong (eight hours ahead) and you'll hit slump time between 11am to 1pm - it's the equivalent of 3-5am at home.
If you're away for 48 hours or less, beat jetlag by staying on home time. That means eating at the times you would at home, staying out of the light when you'd normally be in darkness at home (use sunglasses or stay indoors), and avoiding important meetings during your maximum sleepy time.