Expert reveals what to eat, drink and do before a long-distance flight
Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo has revealed how to handle long-distance travel – from what to eat and drink before you board to what to steer clear of and how to deal with flying at 35,000 feet.
The Sydney-based expert said if you think about when you’re eating before you fly and remain lightly active before you head off, then when it comes to your flight, you should be tired and ready to relax.
‘If you’re about to head off on a big trip, rather than thinking about what you eat, it’s vital to consider when you eat,’ Olivia told FEMAIL.
Olivia Arezzolo (pictured) has revealed how to handle long-distance travel – from what to eat and drink before you board to what to steer clear of and how to deal with flying at 35,000 feet
She said if you think about when you’re eating before you fly and remain lightly active before you head off, then when it comes to your flight, you’ll be tired and ready to relax (stock image)
‘Meals-wise before you head off, I recommend a salad with fish, eggs or tofu, leafy greens and nuts, fresh salmon sashimi, avocado or seaweed salad.
What should you eat and drink before and during a flight?
* Salad with fish
* Leafy greens
* Fresh salmon or tuna sashimi
* Brown rice sushi
* Seaweed salad
* Crackers with avocado
* Sleep supplement
* Protein powder
* Chamomile tea
* Water and lemon
‘If you just want a snack, the most worthwhile are boiled eggs and nuts, some crackers with avocado, bananas or protein powder.
‘These are all extremely useful because they supply your body with tryptophan – the protein also used to create the sleepiness-related hormone melatonin, as well as omega 3 fatty acids.
‘Particularly for those who suffer from pre-flight anxiety, loading up on omega 3s is key – as they reduce symptoms such as mental rumination – or thoughts that come on an endless loop.’
Olivia advocates a sleep supplement before and during a long-distance flight – ideally timed around your new timezone.
She is a fan of Performance Lab’s Sleep supplement, which contains both magnesium and cherry tart to help to supply the body with melatonin.
‘Although magnesium is widely known to aid sleep, the power of cherry tart should not be underestimated,’ Olivia said.
‘A recent study found individuals increased sleeping time by a phenomenal 85 minutes after taking it for just two weeks.’
‘Meals-wise before you head off, I recommend a salad with fish, eggs or tofu, leafy greens and nuts, fresh salmon sashimi, avocado or seaweed salad,’ Olivia (pictured) said
When it comes to what to drink before and during a flight, while it might sound obvious, upping your hydration levels is critical to a good flight.
‘Water with lemon is a great option, because not only will the water keep you hydrated, but the lemon will aid detoxification and reduce fatigue,’ Olivia said.
Before and when on board, she said she will always have a chamomile tea – as chamomile contains apigignen – which is a natural sedative.
Olivia (pictured) said you can adjust to a new time zone by moving your sleep and wake time by just 20 minutes per day
What should you avoid on and before a flight?
* Deep-fried foods
* Sugary foods
* Seemingly healthy airport snacks like muesli bars and banana bread
On the other hand, there are plenty of foods and drinks that are bad ideas ahead of a long-distance flight.
Olivia said these include deep-fried foods, which are laden with saturated fat and can cause indigestion and discomfort.
Sugary snacks and those ‘seemingly healthy airport snacks’ like banana bread are also not recommended as ‘they are often still loaded with sugar, refined oils and artificial ingredients’.
‘Try to avoid alcohol in the direct lead-up to a flight,’ Olivia said.
‘It will impair your ability to sleep properly while on board, and while it might help you to sleep initially, it limits deep sleep – meaning you’ll rouse easily from the lights and noises on board.’
The day before a flight, Olivia (pictured) said it’s a good idea to do a weights class, a yoga class or go for a long run, as this will tire your body out before you head off
But it’s not just what you eat that will ensure you have the best night’s sleep while travelling but how you move your body in the lead-up to a trip, too.
‘The day before a flight, an intense workout is perfect,’ Olivia said.
‘Weights, a challenging yoga class or a long run are all great options, as these mean your DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will coincide with your flight, so you’ll be more than happy to sit and rest.’
Olivia said in the days or week leading up to your flight, it also helps to shift your bedtime and waking time forwards or backwards by 20 minutes each day.
‘This will gradually help your body to adjust to a new time zone,’ she said.
To read more from Olivia Arezzolo, you can visit her Instagram page here.