Traveling long distances and between time zones can hit you with a serious sweep of jet lag. Jet lag is your body clock not being able to adjust to the new time zone and it can can last anywhere from a day to a full week. If you’ve never experienced it, imagine tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep at night and then getting an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion during the day.

Some more side effects are:

  • Fatigue, headaches, irritability
  • Lack of appetite or digestive difficulties
  • Inability to concentrate or preform tasks

If you only have a short time for your vacation, you DON’T want anything to drag you down, especially jet lag.

So, here are a few tips to beat jet lag before it sets in or to help stop it in it’s tracks.

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Sleep (or Don’t) on the Plane

The goal is to get on the local time clock as soon as possible which means doing whatever it takes to fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

Typically when flying from West to East, you’ll take an overnight flight and arrive bright and early the next day. This is to work with the time difference and prevent wasting a day for travel. This is the best type of flight because you have the opportunity to get a nights sleep on the plane. When you wake, you’ll have adrenaline from the excitement of visiting a new place to use through the day.

If you’re flying somewhere that has an odd arrival time or landing in the evening, try to plan for staying awake during the flight in order to be tired enough to sleep in the evening.

Do Not Nap on Day 1

If you’re arriving very early to your destination, you may hit a wall around 3pm. You might want to take a nap, but I strongly urge against this. Taking too long of a nap will completely throw off your body and could cause you to stay awake all night.

If you absolutely need to rest, take a very short 30 minute power nap and set your alarm so you don’t oversleep.

Set Your Watch Beforehand

Before I even land in the place I’m visiting, I set my watch and whatever devices I have to the time I’ll be in. This way, when my brain sees the time, I mentally begin to acclimate to my new time zone before I even land.

Set a Schedule

No matter the time you’re arriving, try to operate on the local time by setting a regular sleep and eat schedule. If you arrive at 8pm, go to bed no later than 10 so your body knows who’s boss.

If you have trouble sleeping in general or don’t want to risk laying awake, it may be best to bring sleep-aid pills, melatonin, or drink a sleepytime tea before your scheduled bed time.

Do Not Calculate the Time Back Home

As I’ve mentioned already, jet lag is mostly mental. When you focus on the time difference, you’re setting yourself up for a worse jet lag. It’s now a pet peeve of mine to hear people constantly mention whatever time it is back in their home city, especially when they use it as an excuse for acting a certain way.  It doesn’t matter what time it is back home (unless you have children there, etc.)… you are on the time of the city you’re in!

Do not constantly calculate the time difference – set it and forget it!

Take it Slow

Traveling slow is a big piece of advice I give my clients. It allows you to soak in the trip and really get a feel for the place you’re in. However when it comes to getting over jet lag, relaxing and traveling slow can really help you get acclimated. It keeps you from wearing out quickly which can cause people to over-nap or get exhausted at odd times of the day. Take the first few days to relax, don’t over plan, and take it slow.

Related: How to Travel Better in 2018

Stay Hydrated

This is extremely important during travel for many reasons, but for jet lag it is key. During flights, the air becomes very dry and causes dehydration. When you become dehydrated, many things occur but most importantly, you lose a lot of energy. So be sure to drink as much water as possible – though NOT the water from the tap in the plane bathroom! Avoid eating salty foods or heavy meals on the flight, as it can cause you to feel lethargic.

Give your body the nutrients it needs to take on the world!


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