How To Beat Jet Lag – Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure there is one thing that affects everyone and that is jet lag.
Jet lag is a phenomena that hits you when you fly through several time zones in a short amount of time.
After you arrive at your destination it is that feeling of tiredness and fatigue that sets in for a few days.
There are some things that you can do to combat jet lag.
Here are a few things that you will want to do the next time you fly.
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How To Beat Jet Lag
There are many things that people will tell you work when it comes to fighting jet lag.
Here are a few proven ways to prevent Jet lag that have been rather effective.
Set an easy schedule
Traveling in general has a lot of things that you normally do not participate in on a daily basis.
Things that are new to your routine can wear you down.
Allow enough time to just take it easy while you travel.
Conquer jet lag
When traveling across time zones, jet lag may be inevitable, but take steps to eliminate it as quickly as you can.
It can take a day to recover for each time zone you crossed.
Meaning, if you traveled from Chicago to Paris — a seven hour time difference — it can likely take up to seven days to get back on track.
Most people don’t have seven days to work through this when they get back home.
Some things you can do to lessen jet lag symptoms are to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine.
Depending if you are traveling east to west, or west to east, you can start changing your bedtime by a half hour each day.
Many people have had success eliminating jet lag by setting their watches (and their minds) to their “home time” when they get on their plane.
They sleep on the plane — or at least avoid electronics and really try to rest.
At the very least, be aware of jet lag and how it can impact your mood.
Go to bed early if you need to in order to ensure you’re getting the rest you need.
Get the sleep you need
There will always be last minute changes or thoughts about what you may have forgotten at home that will flow through your mind.
The important thing to remember is to go to bed early and get enough sleep before hitting skies.
Plan you travel arrival so it happens during the day
If you arrive during the day, you will have time to explore your environment while at the same time getting tired enough to sleep during the night.
This will help you feel refreshed when morning comes.
Choose the right seat on the airplane
There are some seats on an aircraft that at just not made for traveling long distances.
Choose a seat with plenty of leg room and not near any lavatories.
Slow down the travel plans
Take time between flights.
This may mean that you have to spend the night at a motel between your flights.
The extra time will help you relax and enjoy your trip.
Avoid the caffeine
Caffeine is a natural substance that keeps people up at night and empowers them to make it through the day.
Caffeine can add to your headache of jet lag if you consume to much of it.
Enjoy a healthy diet to combat jet lag
By sticking to a timed diet while you travel you will be able to adjust to the time changes better the following day.
Jet lag does not have to ruin your vacation or travel plans.
By following a few of these recommendations you will be able to stay awake and adjust to the new time zone.
When you arrive at your destination keep these tips in mind to help keep jet lag from setting in.
Simple Ways To Avoid Jet lag Without Drugs
Jet lag is a problem that a lot of travelers have to deal with when crossing multiple time zones—it disrupts the natural circadian rhythm and messes up the natural sleeping and eating schedules.
Common issues one experiences when having jet lag is sleepiness and lethargy during the day, irritability, fatigue, indigestion and constipation, loss of focus and concentration, and insomnia.
A common misconception among people is that jet lag is unavoidable, but actually there are simple ways to avoid jet lag that are also effective.
While a lot of travelers do rely on sleeping pills and melatonin supplements to get by during flights, there are ways to avoid it without any drugs.
A lot of doctors don’t recommend the use of sleeping pills, especially if you have not tested its effects on you at home first.
These methods are healthier, won’t give you any unpleasant side effects, and worth considering to help you avoid unpleasant jet lag symptoms.
The worst jet lag I’ve ever had was going from London to New Zealand, a 36 hour flight east.
Now what does it matter that it was a flight going east?
A huge matter, it makes almost all the difference between severe jet lag and no jet lag – although we didn’t know that back then.
We could choose to go either west via Los Angeles, or east via Hong Kong.
The one going east was cheaper and shorter, so we chose that one.
If we would have gone west our experience with jet lag would most likely have been different.
Jet lag tends to be a problem if four or more time zones are crossed, and the effects are generally worse travelling eastwards than westwards.
This is because the body copes better with a lengthening day than a shortening day.
Natural Ways To Avoid Jet lag
Prepare your body clock days before your departure
Adjust your sleeping schedule for each day a few hours more and more in the days leading up to your departure.
This will help you ease into your natural sleep cycle once you land.
Adjust your meal schedules as well.
Choose your flight arrival wisely
It’s best to arrive at your destination in the morning or in the afternoon, because this is the best time of day that can help you adjust to your new schedule.
Opt for overnight flights as well. Travel – A Little At A Time – Make stopovers on your way.
Stay for a while in Hong Kong before continuing, this makes it both easier to cope with jet lag as well as long flights.
I’d actually prefer a 15 hour flight, a few nights in a cool city, and then another 15 hours.
It’s more fun that way as well.
Keep yourself hydrated
It’s easy to lose sight of your water intake when dealing with the stress of traveling.
During long flights, it’s important you stay hydrated by drinking a couple of ounces of water, at least 8 ounces for each hour.
Don’t wait to get thirsty, and just keep the flow going.
This will help your body adjust.
Drink But Stay Sober
Jetlag effects are also generally made worse by dehydration, caffeine and alcohol, which put stress on the body and increase fatigue.
Have you ever seen really drunk people and found it weird that they got so drunk only by a few of those tiny ‘plane-sized’ bottles?
When flying, it takes a lot less to get drunk.
Having one glass of wine on a flight is the same as having two glasses on land.
So keep hydrated, but with non-alcoholic drinks.
Keep your skin and eyes moisturized
The dry cabin air can also affect your skin, so it’s important to moisturize while on the plane.
Pack with you some moisturizing facial wipes, or a facial hydrating spray so you can regularly spritz yourself every hour on board.
To prevent dry eyes, eye drops will also help give you more comfort.
Move your body
Don’t be too shy to stand up and get some body stretches.
Moving your body is essential during long flights.
Rotate your ankles every now and then, and stretch your legs and arms.
Try to get a short walk every now and then inside the cabin to stimulate blood flow and avoid deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Coffee, sodas, alcohol and energy drinks should be highly avoided.
These drinks will only make your body feel worse, as the caffeine will hinder you from getting the proper rest you need before you get off on the plane.
It’s best to eat high-fiber, nutritious food while in flight, such as nuts and granola bars, so you can avoid constipation when you reach your destination.
Avoid foods that can give you gas.
Do eat at the right time too, according to the mealtime of the time zone of your destination.
This helps your appetite adjust easier.
Set your clock to your destination’s time zone
While on the plane, you should adjust your phone and your watch clocks to reflect that of your destination.
This helps you determine what to do when you’re in flight (for sleeping and mealtimes), because you will want to follow the time there while you’re on the plane already.
This also puts you in the right mindset already, and prevents the feeling of confusion and irritability once you get on land, because you already know what to expect based on the time of day it is there.
Get some rest on the plane
Earphones, earplugs, sleeping masks, pillows and blankets will make you feel more comfortable on the flight, and having plenty of rest while on the plane will reduce your fatigue once you land.
Consider bringing your own neck pillow as well, so you’ll be able to get a better quality of sleep on board.
However, it’s ideal if you follow the sleep schedule of your destination whilst on the plane.
For long flights across multiple time zones, train your body and sleep when it’s time for sleeping.
Short naps are also encouraged to help you feel more relaxed.
Sit In The Middle Of The Plane
To prevent motion sickness, move to the center of the plane where it tends to be more stable.
I hope you find some of these natural prevention to be helpful and that you can implement these simple tips on your next overseas trip.
Use an eye mask and ear plugs
These will not only make you sleep more soundly, but also it will prevent you from experiencing tinnitus (ringing in your ears) after the flight.
Once you land, it is of utmost importance that you try to follow the schedule of your new time zone.
Here are more ways to help you prevent symptoms of jet lag from creeping in.
Get some sun and get busy
Upon landing, it’s best to go out in the outdoors the sooner you can, because the sun will definitely communicate to your body.
It will help you stay awake if you should be sleeping at that time in your home country.
The sun’s rays will help in resetting your body clock as well.
Doing some light exercises such as walking or jogging will also help your body feel better.
Eat on schedule
Even if you don’t feel hungry, try as much as possible to eat even a light meal during your destination’s meal time.
If you arrive your destination in the morning, a protein-packed breakfast will help you get all the extra nutrients and energy you’ll need in getting through the rest of the day.
Sleep on schedule
Try your best to sleep at the right time.
This might entail trying to stay awake until you reach bedtime, or perhaps the opposite way around, trying to sleep earlier than you usually would.
A cup of calming tea can help you feel relaxed and ready for bedtime, while a fresh apple can naturally help you stay awake until bedtime without the crashing effects that a cup of coffee can bring.
Plan your activities well during the first few days upon arriving so you don’t end up stretching your energy too thin.
Jet lag really is something that can be managed and avoided, even without the use of sleeping pills and melatonin supplements.
Following these simple ways to avoid jet lag can definitely help you look and feel your best in your new destination, and allow you to go about your business in your peak performance.
Natural ways to cure jet lag
Here are some great natural ways to cure jet lag if you love to travel.
Flying is a particularly enticing variant on this, as the guilt you may associate with your increased carbon footprint can easily be offset by the excitement of going somewhere far away, in a giant metal ship in the sky.
But the further your flight takes you, particularly if you’re travelling east rather than west, the more you’ll have to pay for it in fatigue, muscle ache and insomnia when you arrive. Overcome your fear of Flying
This is the bugbear we call jet lag.
The reason it is so much worse travelling eastwards is that jet lag is caused by disruption to our circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock, which adjusts your system according to the regularity of the light around you.
This ‘daily’ clock actually runs a cycle of a little over 24 hours, so when you travel westwards – creating an artificially longer day – you are at least working with that internal timer to some extent.
But when you travel east, the shorter day is a shock to the system.
If you’ve ever seen how disoriented the birds get during an eclipse, you’ll recognize the phenomenon.
And the thing is, even if you’re travelling west, it probably means you’re going to fly back eastwards again.
There’s no avoiding jet lag if you want to fly across multiple time zones.
Learning to manage your body’s relationship with these circadian rhythms is a superb way to minimize the damage upon landing.
Natural ways to cure jet lag
The natural remedies you can try won’t all feel very natural.
When you see that fresh linen in your hotel room, even if it’s 10 in the morning your ‘natural’ instinct will probably be to get your head down for something not too far short of eternity.
But your conscious intellect doesn’t always know what your primal operating system really needs.
You’re going to need a good combination of natural light and good nighttime sleep (at least four hours) that first day after landing, which means a daytime nap of no more than twenty minutes should be your limit.
Whether you take it first thing on arrival or try to hold out a while is up to you, but as far as possible try to avoid self-medicating with coffee because this will also compromise the quality of that long-awaited good night’s sleep when it comes.
You can actually stimulate your body and mind to a better level of wakefulness by engaging in light exercise, so do some yoga or go for a walk to get that blood pumping and fill your lungs with oxygen – but don’t do it too close to bedtime, as again it can disrupt your sleep.
A warm morning shower and a cold evening shower can also force-reset your body’s sleep timer to the new time zone, as the temperature changes can trigger the desired release of the melatonin hormone to get you back on track.
How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Natural ways to cure jet lag is to bathe in sunlight
The most natural way to retrain your body, though, is to bathe it in sunlight.
This is good news if you’ve traveled somewhere hot for a relaxing holiday, but not so good if your journey eastwards has deposited you back in your gloomy hometown with a day in the office ahead of you.
Still, you can think about switching out those light bulbs for daylight LEDS, or – if this kind of travel is frequent for you – trick your body’s light receptors at source by investing in a pair of Re-Timer glasses whose soft green light has been academically proven to help regulate sleep patterns.
Once you’re actually in bed (after dark, of course) you can use traditional methods to try and get as close to that solid eight hours as possible – use an eye mask and earplugs to block out potential disturbances, and also consider packing an unwashed pillow case from home.
Used on a hotel pillow, the scent of home can subconsciously influence your body’s defensive mechanisms into feeling safer, and thus achieving a deeper sleep.
These solutions can give you a good, balanced start in your fight back against the tyranny of jet lag.
Of course, you can try to pump yourself up with pharmaceuticals and coffee, but it’s not going to be kind to your system in the long run.
Researchers even discovered that hamsters who were administered after long flights had their jet lag reduced, although with predictable side-effects (it is not noted whether the rodents took advantage of the improved circulation to their nether regions once they checked into the their tiny hamster hotels).
But while that may be an appealing remedy for randy pets, you can be a lot kinder to your system in the long run by aligning your behavior with the broader machinations of the natural world.
For more ideas on how to do so, check out this elegant new infographic, and prepare to take control of those first critical hours after landing.