- A long-haul flight at 30,000ft can play havoc with how spritely you look and feel at touchdown. But all it takes to emerge Testino-worthy at your destination is a little know-how, says EMMA STRENNER
1. Trick the time
What is it about jet-lag that leaves you looking and feeling far from your dewy best? It is all down to circadian rhythms – the internal body-clock system that regulates waking and sleeping, prompted by darkness and light. Crossing time zones sends these rhythms out of kilter, so that when you're flying over the Gobi Desert in broad daylight, your body thinks it is still nightime in Paris. In such cases, a tiny group of cells in the brain (the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus) releases the hormone melatonin as the body is exposed to what it thinks is nightfall, bringing the body into resting mode. It's no wonder you don't know if you're coming or going. To avoid that out-of-body experience, try to stay up in the day to sync with the new local time. Then, take melatonin as a supplement 30 minutes before bedtime at your destination (a strategy recommended recently in health journal The Cochrane Collaboration). Melatonin is available in health-food stores in
the US, and on prescription in the UK. It is most effective when crossing two or more time zones, and better to adjusting to eastern time than west.
For a natural alternative, a magnesium B6 supplement will work wonders (try Urdo Vital, available in good French pharmacies and by far the best). Again take the supplement 30 minutes before bedtime to calm your system at a cellular level, allowing your body to relax when you need it to.
2. Clear the air
You really don't want to succumb to all those germs lurking around the cabin and ruin your vacation before it has even begun. A powerful aromatherapy blend with anti-bacterial properties will help keep your airways clear and fight any potential on-board bugs. We love Annee de Mamiel Altitude Oil, which is packed with bug-fighting essential oils including lavender, eucalyptus and fragonia. Just tip a few drops on a tissue and breathe it in during the flight.
Amber Valletta in Rio de Janeiro, 1997, American Vogue © Mario Testinocredits
Photograph: © Mario Testino/Art Partner