Jet lag is a short-term condition that happens when our body’s internal clock is disturbed due to traveling across several time zones. Whether we travel for work or for fun, jet lag can be a real struggle and it can turn our flight of fancy into a one-way ticket to exhaustion.
Some of the most common symptoms of jet lag are, daytime fatigue, trouble concentrating to muscle soreness, stomach upset, and headache. Moving through time zones can affect our bodies which leads to extreme fatigue. It’s because our bodies naturally do a number of things throughout a 24-hour period and when we fly, they are thrown into disorder.
We cannot get rid of jet lag completely but there are some ways which can help ease the symptoms associated with it. If you’re always experiencing jet lag when you travel, here are some tips which may help you minimize its effects.
You are more likely to experience jet lag when you cross more time zones, especially when you’re traveling to the east. It also often takes several days for your body to adapt to a new time. This is why you need to plan ahead of your trip.
- Take Care of Yourself Ahead of Time
Days before the date of your flight, try to get adequate sleep, do some regular exercise, and eat healthy meals. This will help you minimize the effect of jet lag. If you travel without enough sleep, it’s likely that you’ll experience more symptoms of jet lag.
- Arrive Early
If you’re travelling for work, it’s better if you’ll arrive earlier before the event. If you’re going to multiple time zones, it’s great if you can plan to arrive a few days in advance. This will give you a chance to adjust to the new time.
- Organize Your Schedule
Before you travel, it’s also important to tweak your schedule at least a week before your flight. This will help your body adapt to your new time zone. You can try waking up and go to bed earlier than usual each day if you’re going east. If you’re going west, try to wake up and sleep later than usual.
You can still experience jet lag even when you’re not crossing time zones. It’s because air travel alone can contribute to its symptoms due to the change in cabin pressure, the dehydrating air, as well as the prolonged time sitting. Here are some steps to reduce the effects of jet lag while traveling.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is important before, during, and even after travel. If you become dehydrated, it can make your jet lag symptoms worse. Always bring water with you so you can keep yourself well-hydrated.
- No Alcohol and Coffee
Try to avoid drinking alcoholic drinks as well as beverages with caffeine. It’s because both of these drinks can interfere with sleep and contribute to dehydration.
- Get Up and Move
During your flight, try to walk in the aisle or do some stretching from time to time. This will help you reduce the risk of developing blood clots. It will also help lessen any soreness and stiffness that may occur because of prolonged sitting.
- Adjust to Your New Time Zone During Travel
While on your flight, try to sleep on the plane if it’s night time at your destination. But if it’s daytime there, resist your desire to sleep.
Adapt to Your New Time
One you arrive at your destination, try to adapt to your new time as quickly as possible. Here are some tips which might help you.
- Light Exposure
Being exposed to light is one of the key factors of your body’s circadian rhythm. If you’re in the east, it’s better to get bright sun exposure in the morning. If you’re traveling west, expose yourself to light later in the day.
- Maximize Sleep
Try to get good sleep during your first few nights in your new time zone. Make your new environment conducive to good sleep by keeping it in a cool temperature. Also, resist the urge to nap so you can get longer sleep at night.
- Eat Meals at Appropriate Local Times
Eating meals at local times will help you adjust to your new time zone. Even if you’re not yet hungry try to eat, and avoid eating at off times.
It is still important to exercise even when you feel tired and sore from travel. This will help you improve the quality of your sleep and it will make you feel more alert.
Avoid Sleeping Pills
It’s a bad idea to rely on sleeping pills for long-haul flights because they will do nothing to help you recover from jet lag. In fact, it will only leave you feeling fuzzy when you land. It’s better to fall asleep in a natural way or you can also drink herbal teas.
We hope these tips will help you minimize the effects of jet lag on your next trip and give you more time to enjoy traveling.