Healthy travel is so much easier when the entire plane is working to your advantage

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen

Now that it's January, nothing sounds more exciting (and warm!) than jetting halfway around the world to some exotic locale. Gorgeous scenery! Local cuisine! Beach massages! Jet lag! Wait, what? Unfortunately, that groggy post-flight feeling is as much a part of any long-distance vacation as are silly pictures with statues.

First, the problem: Jet lag is caused by a mismatch between our environment and our natural circadian rhythms, so that our brains are no longer synced up with a regular cycle of wakefulness and sleep. Basically, your body thinks it's in one time zone while your brain thinks it's in another. This leads to everything from extreme fatigue to headaches and even, according to some people, flu-like symptoms. (It can even lead to weight gain.)

But one airplane manufacturer has come up with a creative solution to make your next trip more selfies and less sleepies: Airbus has created a new jumbo jet specifically designed to fight jet lag. The high-tech bird is built with special indoor LED lights that mimic the sun's natural daytime progression by changing in both color and intensity. They can be scheduled to help your body adjust to the clock of your destination. In addition, the cabin air is completely refreshed every few minutes and the pressure is optimized to feel like you're just 6,000 feet above sea level. (As opposed to the standard 8,000 or more feet that most planes use now, which can make some passengers feel nauseous and light-headed.)

All of these tweaks, Airbus says, lead to a much more comfortable flight overall and help mitigate the problems of jet lag so you can feel refreshed and ready to enjoy every minute of your trip as soon as you land. Qatar airlines already has some of these place in the air, and several more companies are scheduled to roll them out soon.

Now, if they could just do something about the guy next to us who won't stop snoring and using our shoulder as a pillow, we'd be all set.



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