By Trudi Mehew on 23 February 2015

Even if you’re fairly relaxed about flying, the prospect of a long-haul flight can be worrying for plenty of people. Lack of space, noise, dodgy food and jet-lag can be enough to have anyone disembarking in a foul temper

However, it doesn’t have to be this way - there are ways of dealing with the trials and tribulations that long-haul journeys bring and arriving at the other end feeling halfway to human. Some of these hints won’t be what you want to read, and some will seem downright masochistic, but it’s for the best - trust us.

Don’t drink. See? We told you you wouldn’t like some suggestions, and this is a painful truth. Alcohol acts as a diuretic (it makes you wee more and dehydrates you) and it’ll mess with your sleep patterns - plus, have you ever tried to sleep on a flight with a hangover? Even if you’re nervous, try to avoid booze - and steer clear of it for a few days before the flight so you’re properly rested and ready to fly.

Drink. Conflicting advice? Certainly not - we’re talking about water. One of the dangers about sitting still for long periods is the danger of a blood clot, as you’re not moving around, and your blood thickens as you dehydrate. Plus, the dry, moistureless air that you’ll be breathing won’t help matters. Avoid tea, coffee and soft drinks, which will dehydrate you like booze, and try to drink as much water as possible.

Watch what you eat. For a few days before you fly, eat light, smaller meals, as you don’t want to be boarding your flight with a huge meal sitting in your stomach. This will help shrink your stomach so you won’t feel hungry, and hopefully, you won’t need to go to the toilet too often during the flight. Graphic, yes, but let’s face facts - going to the loo on a flight is never fun.

Get moving. Health experts recommend that you move around as much as possible, even on short flights, in order to combat the possibility of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Rotate your feet clockwise and anti-clockwise, rotate your neck, and bring your shoulders towards your ears in order to get your upper back working. Getting your legs and lower body moving is the priority; lots of fliers even recommend clenching and unclenching their glutes (yes, the large muscles in your backside) in order to get their blood moving. Even walking down the aisle every now and then can make a difference.

Space it out: When you go to sleep, try and make sure you have as much space as possible. Don’t pile any luggage under your feet if you’re lacking space, and avoid nodding off with your legs crossed. However, if you’re shorter than 5ft and your legs are dangling underneath the seat, it’s a good idea to have something they can rest on so there’s no pressure on the underside of your knees.

Dress appropriately: The days when people hopped on a flight looking their best are gone, and although some of today’s fliers take it to the extreme, there’s a lot to be said for staying comfy. Wear loose-fitting, comfy clothes that won’t restrict your blood flow, and avoid high heels. Loosen belts and shoelaces during the flight - this will also help your circulation.

Stay aware: If you have pain, aches, or redness in your lower legs during or after a flight, seek medical help immediately. If a blood clot has formed and reaches your heart, lungs or brain, it can be fatal.

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