Everyone loves to travel, whether it be for business or leisure. As much as we love visiting different places, there’s one thing we all can agree on: jet lag is no joke, and can impact the start of you trip negatively. What exactly is jet lag and what can YOU do to try your best to win the fight against it? Here’s a few tips and ideas that’d be sure to help you one way or another in your battle against the infamous jet lag.
What is Jet Lag?
According to the dictionary, jet lag is the extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones. Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when the body’s internal clock is out of sync with cues from a new time zone. Jet lag may stir up chaos in our bodies, causing extreme fatigue accompanied by bowel movements, indigestion, loss of appetite, and decreased memory and concentration. Definitely not ideal for business trips. Usually, jet lag lasts about a day. These are only a few symptoms and can affect some differently than others. Though there is no “cure” for jet lag, here are a few things you can do to help ease the symptoms and help your body get back on track.
7 Tips for Jet Lag
Try to Relax
Stress and a busy schedule can definitely make the effects our jet lag multiply. Try to relax during the days before your flight. Take trip to the spa, get a massage, or simply sit down and take a breather. This simple initiative can help calm your body and mind for the upcoming long haul. If you maintain flexibility and relaxation for a few days, you will start your trip with a great advantage and prevent jet lag at its worse.
Sleep Well & Catch Up on Sleep
Often enough, most people do not sleep sufficient amount of hours prior to their flights. Sometimes it’s due to pre-flight excitement, and other times due to deliberately not sleeping to be “able to sleep through the flight”. Doing this could be a grave mistake, as sudden changes to your body’s routine, can make it more difficult to adjust to new time zones. Make sure to get a goodnight’s sleep prior to your flight. If your flight departs in the evening leading into the night, make sure to catch a few Z’s in the plane and take a nap when you land.
Try Arriving during Daylight
It’s no secret that sunlight affects our mood, level of energy, and tiredness. If possible, it’s best to catch a flight where you will land at your destination when the sun is out. By doing so, you will be much more inclined to get out and explore since your day will have just started. The human body is much less tempted to feel fatigue with daylight hitting you and seeing much movement around you.
Avoid Alcoholic and Caffeinated Beverages
Hydration is a very important factor to consider when talking about Jet Lag. Though you may be tempted to visit the bar before your flight, or even order a scotch soda during your flight, it probably isn’t the best choice. Alcohol will dehydrate you, especially at an altitude, causing increased tiredness. Thus, making it harder to win the battle against jet lag. The same can be said for drinking coffee and energy drinks. These artificial stimulants will most definitely affect your sleep, causing your jet lag to become a monster! Drink plenty of water and drink non caffeinated teas as alternatives.
Exercise, Hydrate and Eat Healthy
During a long flight, it’s extremely important to dedicate some time to simple exercises. You want to get up and walk to the bathroom, or even do some exercises that many in-flight magazines contain. By doing so, your body releases endorphins and work through knots that may develop during the flight. Also, drinking plenty of water will avoid dehydration during the flight, as the altitude will reduce the moisture in the air. Lastly, eat healthy! If you don’t already, begin eating 3 meals a day and schedule these meals according to the new time zone you’ll be flying into.
A No-Go on Sleeping Pills
You must NEVER stay awake the night before a long flight, and you especially should NEVER take sleeping pills for during a flight. Sleeping pills can cause many negative side effects including anxiety, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from lack of movement, or even immobilize you, causing you to be a hazard to yourself and others if there were to be an in-flight emergency. If it’s absolutely necessary, take melatonin tablets instead. These tablets contain melatonin, which is a hormone naturally found in the brain and is affected by light. Therefore, lack of light means this natural hormone will cause you to doze off naturally.
Avoid Non Stop Flights
While there are many pros and cons to having a non-stop flight, it’s recommended to avoid non-stop if your flight will take 8 hours or more! Your body has a 24-hour biological clock. This clock is affected immensely when you’re flying through time zones, causing a great deal of confusion to your mind and body. Sometimes, waiting for a connecting flight at your “halfway point” will ease your body into the new time zone(s). Thus, jet lag is reduced as your body isn’t dealing with the time changes all at once, and instead, having a small time to adjust a little bit better.
With these little tips, you are sure to significantly reduce the effects of jet lag on your next leisure trip or even business trip. Remember, hydrate, exercise, and play a game of catch-up with your sleep and you should be up to 100% in no time!