Jet lag is often a constant companion when you travel and your time zone shifts more than two hours, especially going east. Moving around day and night, crossing multiple time zones confuse your body’s biorhythm. The best thing to do while traveling long distances is to have 12-24 hr of time to adjust and start adapting the sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, blood pressure, digestion, and other bodily functions to the new time zone. Here are several tips to overcome jetlag.
- If you’re prone to experiencing jetlag you should first get yourself ready at home before starting your journey. If you’re flying east especially you’ll feel jetlag systems worse because flying west causes your body to think your day’s getting longer whereas going east makes it think the day is shorter. Adapt your body’s rhythm a few days before departure. When you fly east, try to sleep a couple of hours earlier than usual. If you’re going west stay awake extra hours. You should also get up earlier or later, respectively.
- Pay attention when you’re booking your flight. Arriving in the morning tends to pose large problems with fatigue while arriving in the afternoon or evening is a better option since you only have to stay awake for a few hours and then head to bed!
- Get yourself mentally prepared for the new rhythm. Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the new destination’s local time and keep yourself awake if it’s day-time there. This can, however, work to your advantage if it’s night-time in your destination, so you can sleep on the plane.
- It’s helpful to adapt your body’s rhythm with the time you’re asleep and awake in the new location. So, for example, if you’re flying east you’ll want to go to sleep on the plane while traveling west, make sure to stay awake.
- Carbohydrate-rich food such as rice, potatoes, pasta, as well as burgers will make you feel heavy and increase your need for sleep and can be helpful when you’re flying east. If you’re going west, you should choose lighter, more protein-rich food to help you stay awake.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your hydration at a healthy level. Skip the alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is strong and toxic when you’re up so high. Also, coffee and black teas are not beverages you should be drinking on a flight. Your best options are to drink water and juice.
- If you have enough time, throw a stopover along your route. For long-distance flights eastward, a relaxing stopover can do wonders for your battle against jetlag.
- The best way to combat jetlag is to get in the rhythm of your destination as soon as you get off the plane. A daytime nap will only make your jet lag worse.
These tips will help you reduce the effects. The most important thing in most cases is for you to stay awake and not be tempted to cozy up into bed. In two or three days you’ll be over your jet lag and you can plunge into your new adventures.