How to Beat Jet Lag
Jet lag can be a serious problem when you travel across multiple time-zones, especially overseas. Not only does it leave you feeling groggy and out of it all day, but it can also ruin plans if you're not careful. The first time we went to Europe we slept until at least noon for nearly the first week, and in turn, we missed out on all of our plans for exploring the Irish countryside.
In hopes of helping others avoid this predicament, here are some of the best tips to help you beat jet lag on your next trip. Most people know, but traveling west is much easier than traveling east because the days get longer traveling west and shorter as you head east, but regardless of where you're going, you will have to go back the other direction eventually.
Try to Adjust to the New Timezone Before
Before you leave try to start adjusting to your new timezone as much as you can. If you're heading west, stay up a little later and sleep in a bit, and if you're heading east wake up a little earlier and go to bed a little earlier.
Drink Lots of Water
During your flight, you should drink more water than you think. Flying dehydrates people badly, and dehydration can make you feel terrible on its own. Making sure you stay hydrated should be your top priority during your flight. It is also very helpful if you bring electrolytes with you and take them throughout your travels.
Arrive in the Evening
If possible, picking your tickets to arrive in the evening is super helpful. You will most likely be tired from a day of traveling, so it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up at a normal time.
Melatonin is a great tool to help you get to sleep, especially if you are traveling east. Because your body will be used to staying awake much later than your new timezone, taking a melatonin thirty minutes before bed will greatly help with getting to sleep. You can also try taking a Benadryl for the same effect.
Use Light to Your Advantage
Light has a huge influence on your circadian rhythm. If you arrive at your destination during the daylight, spend a minute facing the sun. Do the same thing as soon as you wake up the next morning. Being in the bright light will help send your body the message that it is supposed to be awake.
Cold and Hot Showers
Take a cold shower as soon as you get up to help your body wake up better, and take a hot shower before bed to relax your muscles and help you fall asleep.
Avoid Caffeine During Your Flight
Caffeine can be a helpful tool for waking up in your new timezone. It is best, however, to avoid it during your trip, and try to rest as much as you can during the flight. Once you reach your destination, you can have a coffee to help you make it through the day if it is morning, but if it is any later than morning, hold off until the next day. You want to ensure that you can get the best sleep possible that first night especially.
Avoid Food During the Flight
Avoiding food during your flight can really help with minimizing jet lag. If you feel like you have to eat something, try to make it during a time that would be normal to eat at your destination. It helps to change your watch so you know when mealtimes should be. Also keep in mind, if you arrive at night, it is best to avoid the midnight snack craving.
Once you get to your destination, it might not be the first thing you want to do, but you should try to go for a short run or do a quick workout to get your body back to speed.