Hydrate, sleep and getting on schedule. These are the three biggest tips I can give to anyone when it comes to getting over jet lag.
Firstly, making sure you’re hydrated will make you feel better all around. It helps with blood circulation, and reduces your chances of getting a headache and feeling tired when you travel. Along with hydration means that you want to avoid hitting the airport bar or inflight libations. Coffee is also a big factor in dehydration so be careful with your coffee intake.
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When it Comes to jet lag, sleep is a major factor. It’s important to get plenty of sleep the night BEFORE your trip so your body is well rested and prepared for the stress of travel and changing time zones. Try and time your flights so that you are arriving in the morning or afternoon to your destination. If you arrive when it’s dark out, you’re going to want to go to sleep immediately, even if it’s only 7pm, so arriving during the day will help you stay awake. If you get an overnight flight, and arrive in the morning, try and sleep for as much of the flight as possible. Sleeping on the plane and waking up to morning time, will help to get you on schedule and stay well rested.
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Jet lag is caused usually by drastic changes to your time and scheduling. Jumping several timezones is tough on your body, and trying to change your schedule is hard. But getting on the new time schedule of where you are as quickly as possible is important. If it takes you too long, your trip can be ruined because you’ve missed too much. Normally when I arrive to a new time zone, I try and jump onto that schedule immediately. For example, I recently traveled from the United States to New Zealand, which was a massive time zone change for me. When I arrived it was only 1pm. While I could have easily laid down right then and went to sleep, I set myself a goal. I knew that once I feel asleep I could be out cold for a very long time. The goal was to stay awake and moving around until 8:30pm. at 8:30 I allowed my body to start shutting down and went to sleep. BUT the important thing is to set an alarm! Without an alarm I could have slept until late in the afternoon since my body was exhausted from 20 hours of traveling and time changes. I set my alarm for 9am, which is late for me, but I knew that I wanted to wake up at a reasonable hour, but also give my body about 12ish hours to recover. The next day I set similar goals, but a little later at night, and a little earlier in the morning. Doing this over the course of 2-3 days I can usually have myself all sorted out and avoid feeling horrible jet lag that drags out for days.
The important thing with jet lag is to make sure that you are taking it easy. Give your body time to adjust. Don’t plan tons of excursions and adventures in your first few days because you will end up dragging your feet and feeling like a zombie. Try more relaxing activities, like wandering around and getting your bearings. Then once you feel your body is more or less acclimated, go on the bigger adventures. The same thing goes for when you are heading back home. Don’t plan on going straight back to work the day after a huge trips. Plan in a few days to relax at home and get accustomed to your schedule again. Trust me, your body and your mind will thank you!
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