Jet lag occurs when you have traveled through time zones causing fatigue, headaches, and sleep problems among others. Jet lag is the body’s natural response to the disruption of its circadian rhythms, which is involved in many psychological processes but most importantly, our sleep-wake cycles. Now while it is easier to travel west than east, the Sleep Health Foundation has put together some tips in beating jet lag. By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert and ready for all of your travels.
Adjusting to the Time Difference
- Going to a different time zone can be hard on the body. While it might be 9 p.m. where you are it is already midnight at home and your bedtime was an hour ago. To help combat those feelings, you need to reset your body-clock closer to the new time. Traveling east to west, you need to delay your body clock, so wake up a couple of hours later and go to bed later. But if you are traveling west to east, you need to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier.
Short Trips—Stay on Home Time
- If you are going to be away from home for less than 3 days, you should eat and sleep at the same time you do at home and try not to go outside when it is dark at home.
- Coming prepared to make your flight experience more comfortable will help to overcome jet lag. Bring earplugs, an eye mask, and a neck pillow. Stay hydrated during your flight and wear comfortable layers of clothes that are easy to remove and put back on if you get hot or cold.
Say No to Pills
- While some people might swear by them, taking sleeping pills can render you immobile, increasing your chances of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Sleeping on a plane usually involves broken sleep so when you do wake up, get up, wiggle your ankles and toes, do the hokey pokey, and that’ll get your blood flowing.
Become a Local
- This doesn’t mean knowing where everything is after 5 minutes or trying all the local food you can in 1 hour; it has to do with adjusting your body clock. Your arrival time is more important than your departure so do as the locals do. Eat when they do and go to sleep when they shut their eyes. An important factor in resetting your alarm clock is sunlight so if you are trying to stay awake, get outside as much as you can!
Take a Short Nap
- We know that sleep experts say napping is bad for your sleep cycle (but those siestas do sound appealing), but napping is a useful tool if you are having a hard time staying awake until night time in your new destination. When you take your nap, set your alarm and don’t sleep for more than 2 hours; making sure you’re awake for at least 2 hours before you go to bed. So don’t take a nap at 8 p.m.
Do Some Exercise
- We get it, you’re on vacation and want to indulge, and this is your time to not feel guilty about not hitting the gym. But it is proven that getting the blood pumping will help revitalize you on your arrival and reset your body clock.
How else do you beat jet lag? Let us know in the comments below!