3. Starve off jet lag, Reagan style
Yes, that's "starve," not "stave." In the 1980s, Charles Ehret, a biologist at America's Argonne National Laboratory, thought he'd found the cure for jet
lag: a crash diet. The imaginatively named Anti-Jet-Lag Diet was once fairly popular; Ronald Reagan reportedly used to follow it, as
did "the U.S. Army and Navy, the U.S. Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the
World Bank, the Federal Reserve System," and other notable organizations, according to Argonne. The basic idea was to alternate feasting and fasting in the
days running up to a long haul flight.
More recently, Harvard scientists took the idea a step further and concluded that the real cure is to starve yourself completely before flying. Read what
happened when Steve Hendricks from Harpers tested the theory.
4. Melatonin might help
Medical consensus on the effects of melatonin--the hormone that controls sleeping and waking cycles--on jet lag is mixed. You can get hold of it
over-the-counter in the US, but not in Europe. Early research concluded it doesn't make a difference (paywall). More recent studies, however, have found
that it does actually help overcome jet lag. Various studies, including one in the British Medical Journal, have charted the effects of melatonin on long haul
flight passengers and found those who took the hormone recovered faster than the placebo group.
As for the dosage, the test group was given 5mg of melatonin a day for three days before the flight, another dose during the flight and a further dose a
day for three days after the flight. Just taking it after your flight, before bedtime, as a lot of people do, may not help so much.
5. Try not to lose your luggage
Lost luggage is the most stressful thing that can happen to a business traveler, according to CWT. This is closely followed by poor internet connections,
flying economy on long haul flights, and delays. Do yourself a favor--travel with only a carry-on.
6. Ask the guru before picking your seat
If you've been relegated to coach, use SeatGuru to find the best seat. The website, owned by TripAdvisor, lists
color-coded seating charts for hundreds of aircrafts. It tells you which seats to avoid because they don't recline, are too near the toilets, are narrower
than usual, and so on, as well as which ones have extra legroom.
7. Send your youngest employees economy class
Flying economy on long-haul flights becomes more stressful with age. The CWT study ranked stress factors associated with business travel on a 10 to 100
scale. Flying economy on long haul flights was one of the factors, and they found that travelers in the over 60 age bracket scored 15 stress points higher
than those under 30. It might be worth companies spending the extra money on business class for older employees, because the study also found that older
travelers reported a lower level of stress when faced with working long hours at their destination.