Are you a frequent traveller who suffers from jet lag? I know I am an occasional traveller who cops it big-time whenever I travel across multiple time zones. After doing some research, I found some tips on how to beat it. Of course, I can’t guarantee they will work, but surely they are worth a try, right?
One: Stick to Your Routine
Apparently, if you’re not traveling for long, you can usually avoid jet lag by sticking to your normal routine. Keep your watch set to your ‘home’ time and just do what you’d normally do at home—eating, sleeping, exercise, etc. Apparently, your body won’t even notice the time chance when you do this, and it will readjust without any problems on the way back. Apparently!
Two: Knock Yourself Out
Okay, not literally. It’s my code for sleeping like a baby. When you’re traveling out of your normal time zone, you’ll want to try to keep to normal bedtimes. And while you might have trouble at first, try to get the same number of hours of sleep per night. This will help your body get into a new rhythm for the time when you’re away. Even if you can’t fall asleep right away, try to get into bed and close your eyes until you fall asleep. Easier said than done – I know firsthand!
Three: Drink Up
Jet lag can often be worsened if you are dehydrated, be it on your trip or in the plane. To combat this you’ll want to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids as you travel—water and juices especially. And yes I know, I know, it is hard to monitor. I am guilty of it myself at times. So just stay vigilant and drink up.
Four: Avoid Booze
I’m not trying to be a killjoy here. I know that alcohol is provided on flights. I personally also imbibe from time to time. But I make it a personal policy to not have more than one alcoholic drink per flight. Alcohol can dehydrate the body so it should be avoided if you can. What if you’re expected to drink at a business function? Well, just alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Five: Set Your Watch
When you’re headed into areas where the time will change significantly, you’ll want to set your watch to start following the local hours. By changing the routine that you’re used to directly into the new hours, you can help to offset jet lag before it even starts. Okay, maybe not offset totally, but at least limit it. Follow your new daylight and darkness hours to adjust your circadian rhythms. Personally I like to do it on the plane.
Six: Move It
One of the best ways to avoid jet lag is to do some form of exercise when you arrive at your destination. This can be as simple as a walk or a few callisthenics in your hotel room (ugh, I shudder at the term callisthenics, but I’ll use it since it is the lingo). Do a few jumping jacks to get your heart pumping or start touring the town. When your body gets exercise, it can ‘bank’ the extra energy and help you adapt to changing light conditions.
Seven: Don’t Discount The Pill
Ps, not the contraceptive. If you just can’t sleep, you can try a sleeping pill to re-teach your body when to sleep. Normally this isn’t recommended, but when you’re on an extended trip or you have to switch time zones frequently, a sleeping pill can help to give you some rest in order to be alert during the day. But do find out which ones work for you. Pick the wrong brand and you might end up with a bad migraine. And if the sleeping pill doesn’t appeal to you, you can try aromatherapy.
Eight: Energise Like A Hippy
I know some people like to belittle hippies and natural medicine as it isn’t science-based. But if you are suffering from jet lag, why not try something different. Try oils that you can smell for energy as well as soothing oils for relaxation, like lavender. If anything, it will at least boost your mood, won’t it?
All the best dealing with your jet lag. I will also apply some of these the next time I travel across time zones.
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Also published on Medium.
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