Anyone who has endured a long-haul flight East or West has experienced jet lag. It leaves you wonky, tired, restless, with headaches, and much worse. It is especially miserable because, when you travel that far for pleasure, you are obviously looking to get the most out of your trip, and when you travel that far for business, you need to be at the top of your game. Read below for tips on how to overcome jet lag!
1. Plan Your Trip With Jet Lag in Mind
Flying West can be way worse than flying East since it extends your day. Try adapting to your new schedule before flying out. Go to bed a bit later if you are flying East, or earlier than usual if you are flying West. Arriving in the morning tends to make you more tired since the day will drag on, while arriving in the afternoon or night means you can hit the hay and have time to adapt to your new schedule.
2. Stay Overnight
Overnight stopovers can help you adjust when you are flying to the other side of the world. Take a few days to explore a new city along the way to your destination. The pause will allow your body to more smoothly adjust to the time change.
3. Adjust to New Rhythms
If you arrive at breakfast time, eat breakfast. If there is light outside when you arrive, don’t take a nap. Jet lag is mostly a mind game, so trick your brain. When it perceives sunlight, it thinks you should be awake. Sunlight is a powerful message to the brain. The light prevents you from releasing melatonin, the body’s primary sleep-regulating hormone. Try staying up until 10 PM in your new location’s time.
4. Set Your Watch to the New Time Zone
Set your watch in advanced to the new time zone. This way, while you are on the plane you can keep yourself awake if it is daylight there, or try to sleep if it is nighttime, adapting yourself to the new schedule.
5. Try Som Sleep
If you land at nighttime but find you are not sleepy, try drinking Som Sleep. Take it a half hour before your desired bedtime and you will find yourself ready to drift off by the time you want to sleep. It contains L-theanine and GABA for cognitive relaxation, magnesium and vitamin B6 for nutritional sleep support, and melatonin, which helps your brain and body prepare for deep, restorative sleep.
6. Watch What You Eat
Watch what you eat on the airplane and at the airport! Going heavy on the carbs can make you more tired, which may help if you are traveling East, but not West. Lighter, protein rich foods help maintain steady energy levels, so they are better if you are flying West.
Airplane air is very dry. Have you ever noticed how it dries out your skin? Make sure to stay hydrated while you are on the plane. Poor hydration status can negatively affect both your waking energy levels and sleep quality. Do not drink alcohol on the plane, as the altitude increases the effects of alcohol and will further dehydrate you. Caffeine will also dehydrate you relative to non-caffeinated options and will keep you awake. Try bringing a reusable water bottle with you and filling it up right after the security checkpoint.
8. Embrace the Familiar
Take your sleep traditions abroad with you. If you listen to a certain music before bed or a white noise machine during sleep, also do that abroad!
9. Take It Easy
Rest up and embrace relaxation for your first few days in a new place. Traveling so far takes a lot out of your body. Keep your hotel room cool, around 60-65 degrees, the optimal temperature range for high-quality sleep.