How To Beat Jet Lag
How To Beat Jet Lag
Jet Lag is the bane of any long haul traveler. For those constantly on the move, jetlag becomes less than a condition but a state of mind. Jetlag is that traveling companion that leaves you tired, nauseous, drowsy, gives you insomnia and makes it hard when you want to concentrate. Here are a few tips to help you beat this annoying companion.
Eat, Sleep, Repeat
At least, two or three days, before you step on a plane, allow your body to get used to your new schedule and routine. Figure out what’s the time difference between your home and the country that you will be visiting.
Now try to move your meals forward or backward until the day of your flight. Do the same thing with your bed time. Gradually your sleep/eat routine will change, which means that you will eat and sleep at weird times. But, this will make it easier to adjust to a new timezone.
Get Onboard, Change Your Watch
As soon as you step onboard the plane, change your watch to the new time zone and have at least 3 meals a day following that new schedule. This will help your inner clock regulate itself better which will make it easier to get used to the new time zone. Because you have been gradually changing your body clock, there will be less of a shock when you travel and jetlag will not hit you so hard.
Plan Your Flight
Instead of jumping on the next flight towards an exotic place, why don’t you choose the flight times that best suit you? If you are a person that sleeps anywhere and won’t wake up no matter how much noise there is around you, a night flight might be the ideal for you. If you are a light sleeper, try to get a flight that will land by night, so you can go straight to bed.
If you want to get better sleep in an aircraft, get a window seat, not only you can use the wall as support, no one will wake you up when they need a wee break. Invest in a neck pillow, noise canceling headphones or earplugs and a sleeping mask. The cabin can become chilly so why don’t you take a blanket or a jacket with you to fight off the cold.
When you are dehydrated you feel tired and groggy, add jetlag to the mixture and you have the recipe for a bad time. It’s hard not to get dehydrated when you are stuck in a pressurised tube for long hours, breathing recycled air and having all the free coffee and booze that you can drink.
Try to drink at least 1 – 2 liters of water through the flight by taking small sips from the bottle. You can ask the flight attendants to fill your bottle from the tap and if you are tired of drinking water, putting a lemon slice in your bottle or drinking coconut water might be a good alternative.
Being seated for long periods and fighting off sleep can cause fatigue. It will be one of the reasons why you feel that all you want to do is getting into bed as soon the plane lands. Try to stand, stretch and move around the cabin during the flight. It can help you fight off fatigue, and will stop your body from getting into a standby mode.
Natural Light Helps
Unless you arrive at night, drop those bags in your hotel room, have a quick shower and go outside. Take a few minutes to breathe in, feeling this new amazing place and then start walking. Walking will help you to get know the area around the hotel and which places you should see later on when you are better rested.
Daylight has the most impact on your circadian rhythm because our bodies are still being regulated by the sun. Staying outside for 30 minutes or more can reset that internal clock because your body will see that is not yet time to go back to the cave and sleep.
Relax Before Bed
The long flight is over and you are in a new place, probably you are quite excited about this trip. Trying to sleep when you are excited is almost impossible, so before going to bed why not indulge in a hot bubble bath. It will relax your muscles and help with the sleep quality and it will feel great after being stuck in an aircraft for hours.
You can always have a warm shower if you don’t have a bath tube at your disposal. Another way to relax is by meditating, listening to soothing music while sipping chamomile tea. Exercise is a great way to burn off extra energy but don’t do any hard sessions because that can disrupt or delay your sleep.
Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycles, but it also controls the reproductive cycles in mammals. You can buy Melatonin pills and take them one hour before bedtime. The pills will make you feel sleepy.
If you prefer a more natural approach, small amounts of melatonin can be found in foods like pineapples, bananas, oats, tomatoes, sweet corn, rice and barley. Even thought eating a lot of these foods won’t knock you off to sleep, they will help improving sleep quality and make you feel fresher after waking up.