Whether you fly coast-to-coast or international as a ‘Road Warrior’ or vacation in a far-away location, you’re not alone when you’re concerned about jet lag. Many people say that it takes them days to recover from a long flight before they feel like they’re back to their normal schedule. It’s not easy on our body when our natural biological clock gets out of whack when traveling over multiple time zones.
Here are seven tips on that can help minimize the side effects of jet lag, both in your destination city and when you get back home:
- When you arrive at your destination, stay up until 9 or 10 p.m. local time. (If you must sleep during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, but no longer than two hours. Set an alarm to be sure not to over sleep.)
- Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
- Upon boarding the plane, set your watch to the destination time zone and starting ‘thinking’ that it’s already the new time zone.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime (this goes for inflight sleep time also). Both act as stimulant and prevent sleep.
- Avoid any heavy exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
- Bring earplugs and an eye mask to help lessen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping. Use these on the flight as well as you’ll sleep better and longer.
- Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. Staying indoors worsens jet lag.
I follow these steps when I travel internationally and my jet lag symptoms are minimal. The most important step for me is to stay awake at the destination city until a ‘normal’ bedtime. When I give in to the urge to go to sleep in the afternoon, I feel groggy and out of sorts for the next day or two.
What tips work for you in minimizing jet lag?
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