12 Ways to Overcome Jet Lag Fast
If you’ve just booked your dream vacation to Europe or Asia, get ready to start planning! Along with starting your packing lists, planning out excursions and booking hotels, you will want to plan ahead for the jet lag that is inevitable. Here at eLuxury, we are the experts in sleep, so we’ve put together a helpful guide to teach you more about the topic. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to enjoy your vacation by leaving the jet lag behind!
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder categorized as a disruption in your circadian rhythm patterns, resulting from traveling across different time zones. The circadian rhythm, or the internal “clock” of the body that controls your sleep-wake cycle, becomes misaligned within the new time zone. Your body becomes unaccustomed to a new time and thus, you may begin to experience several different symptoms of jet lag including:
- Daytime fatigue
- Difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep
- Disturbed sleep, such as insomnia
- Reduced alertness and difficulty focusing
- Digestive problems
- Mood changes
Interestingly enough, those who seem to be night owls tend to have less problems with jet lag than those that are early birds.
12 Ways to Overcome and Prevent Jet Lag:
1. Prepare For the Changes Before Leaving
Before you leave on your new adventure, you should know how many time zones you may be travelling through. How many time zones that you travel through tend to be a factor in the recovery time.Your body will adjust to 1-2 time zones per day. Knowing this information can help you to adjust your sleeping patterns before you leave.
If you are flying East, you are at a greater risk for jet lag than if you are flying west. This is because your body thinks that the days are getting shorter when you fly east, and longer when you fly west. Adjust your sleep-wake pattern a few days before you leave. If you are travelling east, adjust your sleep by 2 hours earlier than normal. If you are going west, stay up an extra hour or two.
When you are preparing for a vacation, put your mindset in your destinations timezone. Start thinking about what you will be doing at this time in a few days from now. Set your watch ahead to help you get started on the transition, not only to be excited, but to also bring constant awareness to the adjustment you’ll be making, every time that you look at your watch. This is especially important when you are on the plane. If it is daytime at your destination, then make sure to keep yourself awake according to your watch like you would at that time during any normal day.
Being on an airplane for several hours, across multiple time zones, with unfamiliar people and environments puts your body through a lot in a matter of just a few hours. You may not feel the effects immediately, but do your part in helping your body adjust before you even board your plane.Bring along some vitamin B & C and probiotics to keep everything in tip top shape.
Whether you are on the airplane or you have a couple hours to spend in an airport during a layover, resist the temptation to eat large and heavy meals. Eat lighter meals and be mindful of how they would affect your body normally. Carb heavy meals like burgers and pasta will cause you to be more tired, but could be helpful if you are flying east and want to sleep on the journey. If you are flying west, try to maintain a protein-rich meal mindset to keep your body moving at an alert and steady pace. Over eating can cause discomfort and an unadjusted appetite when at your destination.
Airplane cabins have a humidity level that is much lower than what we are used to. This will cause your throat, nose and skin to feel dry. Bring a little pack of lotion and drink a lot of water. I know, climbing over your seat partners and using the airplane bathrooms do not sound like a great experience, but trust me, staying hydrated is worth those inconveniences. And as tempting as that wine is to help lull you to sleep or that coffee to keep you awake, drink water instead. Alcohol and caffeine will only have a helpful effect for a small amount of time and will make adjusting to your destination that much harder.
If you are going to be arriving during the day, you’ll want to keep yourself awake and there is no better way than to hop off the plane and keep going until the sun goes down. It will be hard to keep yourself moving when your eyes are droopy and your body is dragging, but resist the temptation to stay too long in your hotel room after arrival. Get outside and stroll around, do a quick workout or go straight to a museum. Pushing through that body clock and adjusting to the new time zone is one of the best things you can do for yourself when getting through jet lag.
You’ve got your watch set to your destinations current time, right? Based on this, you are going to need to either stay away or sleep. Bring an eye mask and earplugs to help you sleep if you are going to be arriving in the morning. Do not take sleeping pills to help you sleep, as their effect could prolong jet lag. If you are going to be arriving in the late afternoon or evening, keep yourself awake by turning the overhead light on and take advantage of the airplane media, if available.
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to schedule in one or two easy days. This means that I have an outline of possible things I would like to do that day, but I am not restricted by time or schedules. This is nice either on the first full day after your arrival or halfway through the trip. Although you want to push through the initial sleepiness, and still stay in motion for the majority of the day, it is still important to listen to your body and not push too much.
- Maintain a Routine as much as Possible
While you are on the plane, you should try to maintain your normal routine as much as possible. If you are planning on sleeping, brush your teeth and wash your face or bring a rose spray, in addition to bringing comfortable clothes to change into, Maintaining this rhythm can help put your mind and body at ease since traveling can add stress.
When flying East, pick an arrival time that is in the evening. This allows you to jump right into a sleeping routine and hopefully start the next day refreshed. Travelling wears on you, so 8+ hours of it will cause exhaustion, and arriving in the evening will help jumpstart your body into a new routine.
This suggestion may not be everyone’s favorite thing or the first thing on their mind. But exercising as soon as you arrive will get your heart rate going and the metabolism running normally again. It doesn’t have to be an intense HIIT workout, although you are certainly welcome to do so. Something as easy as a brisk stroll around the block could be great to keep you going until the sun goes down.
Don’t Let the Jet Lag Get You Down
Travelling to foreign places and experiencing new cultures, sights, sounds and people is truly one of the most wonderful and exciting opportunities that we have through the ease of modern travel. Don’t let jet lag get in the way of savoring every single moment of your vacation. Take your vitamins, drink lots of water, be well rested and push though. The world is out there waiting for you!