How to prepare for a long-haul flight

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Travelling can be tough on your body. So, we spoke to sleep experts and nutritionists to find out the essential items you need to stay comfortable while flying

When you consider what our bodies must deal with while travelling at high altitudes it’s almost enough to do away with long-haul flights for good (joking, of course). But, while we’re not ready to give up on travelling to sunnier climes just yet, we thought we’d ask a few experts for their travel essential tips, so that we can make your next trip a little more comfortable.

What to eat and drink while flying

While you’re roaming through duty free, it can be easy to load up on snacks and fizzy drinks without considering how they may make your body feel in a few hours’ time. Instead of opting for meal deals and fried food, nutritionist Kristen Stavridis suggests prioritising foods that are lighter on the stomach.

“I’d suggest fruits, nuts, seeds and herbal teas. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients as well as containing probiotics, which can help with digestion,” says Kristen.

Meanwhile, foods like beans and lentils are on the no-go list, as these can lead to excess gas in the digestive system and have been known to cause bloating in some people. Despite their convenience, snacks that have a high sodium content, such as crisps, are also not recommended, as these can cause fluid retention.

“Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the flight is also crucial in preventing bloating and maintaining overall wellbeing,” explains Kristen.

And speaking of drinking, the sleep experts at Bed Kingdom recommend avoiding alcohol while on a long-haul flight, despite how tempting it may to get the party started. Drinking alcohol lowers the quality of your sleep, as you spend less time in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, which can make you feel more tired when you wake up.

As alcohol is a diuretic (a substance that promotes the production of urine), it can lead to dehydration, which could disrupt you while you’re trying to get some shut eye. “Alcohol might help some people fall asleep initially, but it can disrupt the quality of sleep,” says Kristen. “If you’re crossing time zones, alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to adjust to the new time zone and can exacerbate jet lag symptoms.”

Above all, Kristen advises upcoming travellers to keep in mind how their digestive system tends to work before flying. “It’s important to remember that everyone’s digestive system is different. So, you should consider your own sensitivities and preferences when choosing what to eat and drink,” she says.

What to pack for a long-haul flight

When flying for a long period of time, it’s essential to pack a bag of items that will keep you feeling relaxed and pampered – as well as heightening your chances of falling asleep.

The pressurised environment of a plane can leave your skin feeling dehydrated and dry, so be sure to pack a moisture mask. This overnight sleep mask by Skin Proud contains raspberry extract, niacinamide and cranberry seed oil and is designed to quench your skin so you can disembark feeling as fresh as you did when you boarded.

Read more: Sleep tourism: is it time to hit the snooze button on your next trip?
Sleep Hero overnight sleep mask by Skin Proud
Sleep Hero overnight sleep mask by Skin Proud

When it comes to inducing sleep, the experts at Bed Kingdom point to eye masks, travel pillows and noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs as all being extremely helpful.

They also recommend investing in a supportive memory foam travel pillow to prevent neck strain and help you maintain a more comfortable position for sleeping. If you’re limited with space, try taking an inflatable neck pillow or a large scarf that can be rolled around your neck or also used as a blanket.

More airport and long-haul flight essentials

Despite these efforts, some of us need a little extra help feeling comfortable, regardless of what we eat, drink or put on our skin. Here, Kristen recommends purchasing remedies such as fast-melt supplements designed to help relieve bloating.

“Arbonne’s BioticSticks Fast Melt Formula is ideal for travel, as it melts on the tongue and requires no refrigeration,” she says. The berry-flavoured supplement helps to support microbial diversity and contains no dairy, soy or gluten.

It’s also a good idea to wear slip-on shoes or travel socks while flying, as tight-fitting shoes can end up compressing nerves and restricting blood circulation to your feet.

Read more: How eating colourful food can help maximise your nutrient intake
Fast melt supplements
BioticSticks Fast Melt Supplements by Arbonne

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