Traveling can be a lot of fun, but there is nothing worse than having your day ruined by a bad case of jet lag. Feeling sleepy while you’re trying to tour a museum or take a business meeting is not ideal, but it can be hard to keep yourself on track when you’re up against a time difference.
Knowing how to fight off jet lag can make all the difference in your trip. This feeling of fatigue is a result of the disruption of your natural internal clock, which helps to regulate your sleep and wake cycles.
When you change time zones, your body struggles to keep up with this new schedule, which can result in tiredness, temporary insomnia, irritability, and more.
Luckily, you can take the proper steps to reduce your symptoms of jet lag and have a more enjoyable vacation. If you want to help your body adjust to time changes, try these seven tips to beat jet lag.
1. Gradually Shift Your Schedule Before You Leave
A few days before you leave, begin to shift your sleep and wake schedule so it is closer to matching that of your destination. If you’re traveling east, start going to bed and getting up earlier. If you’re flying west, begin going to bed and waking up later.
2. Choose A Good Seat On The Plane
If you want to get some rest on your flight, choose your seat carefully. Window seats are good to rest a pillow on, and you won’t get disturbed by passengers getting up to use the bathroom. Avoid the back of plane, as the front and middle of the aircraft are less affected by turbulence.
3. Drink Enough Water
The dry cabin air can be dehydrating, so make sure to bring a water bottle or get a glass every time the flight attendant comes around. Even mild dehydration can have an effect on your mood and energy levels, so be sure to stay hydrated during your journey so you’re fresh when you arrive.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Having a glass of wine after taking off might help you fall asleep, but alcohol can actually further mess up your sleep cycles, not to mention dehydrate you too. Try to fall asleep without relying on a nightcap.
5. Try Not To Nap
Once you arrive at your destination, it can be tempting to take a nap, since you’re likely tired from your journey. If it’s the middle of the day, try to avoid this and stay up until the nighttime.
If you’re having a a hard time staying awake, avoid sitting in your hotel room and get outside. Taking a walk can help boost your energy levels — plus, you’ll get to see something new.
6. Avoid Sleep Meds
Although taking a Tylenol PM or melatonin might seem helpful the first night or two, it can actually make it harder for your body to naturally adjust to the time change later. It also may cause daytime grogginess the following day.
7. Utilize Light Properly
Light is extremely important when it comes to your body’s circadian rhythms. Make sure to close the blinds and sleep in the darkest room possible when going to bed.
In the morning, open the blinds to let the light in. This regulation of light can help your sleep cycle so you feel more awake in the morning and sleepy at night.
travelPhoto by Jason O’Halloran