If you’re finally getting a chance to go on a big overseas trip after having to put off travel plans due to the global pandemic, you’re probably thinking about all the wonderful sights you’ll see and things you’ll do while away from home.
However, unfortunately, a downside that can come along with traveling to another part of the world is jet lag. This issue doesn’t have to cause you massive problems, though, as there are some things you can do to beat it and reduce the severity of the effects.
Adjust Your Internal Clock Earlier
The first step is to look into the new time zone of the place you’re flying to. Before you leave, start adjusting your internal clock rather than waiting until you arrive at your destination. Gradually shift your clock ten or 15 minutes per day in the week leading up to your flight by going to bed earlier than you typically would if you’re flying east, or staying up later each night if you’re headed west. By doing this, your body won’t have so far to adjust when you’ve landed, and the jet lag should be more tolerable.
Get Enough Sleep Before You Leave for Your Flight
Also, as much as you might be busy packing and finishing work and handling other tasks before you fly out, it’s critical not to start your journey already feeling exhausted. If you do, the jet lag will hit you much more. Instead, work to get enough sleep before leaving so your mind and body can handle the lack of deep rest for a day or two much more effectively.
Keep Up Your Water Intake
Another tip is to ensure you stay hydrated while flying and once you arrive at your destination. Keep up your water intake by drinking water regularly during the flight, in particular. Try to get this fluid into your body every hour when you’re not asleep because the air on planes is usually much drier than our everyday environments. Hydration will help you minimize the effects of jet lag since being dehydrated exacerbates the headaches, lethargy, and other symptoms that can come on with jet lag.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Keep in mind, too, that you don’t want to undo your efforts with drinking water often on the plane by dehydrating yourself with caffeine and alcohol. Stimulants like this might feel like a fix to help you stay awake longer and acclimatize, but they’ll only stop you from getting the quality rest you need, and they dehydrate the body.
Steer clear of both substances on the plane and in the 12 hours or so before you get airborne. Note that most people find that alcohol affects them more than usual when flying since the altitude changes quicken the body’s response to it. One drink while in the air can be equivalent to two or three on the ground, so if you do drink, try to limit yourself to one.
Do What You Can to Sleep During the Flight
If you can manage some decent sleep while flying, you should find that the jet lag isn’t so bad when you arrive. Being well-rested will allow you to stay up for longer and go to bed at a reasonable bedtime at the destination, too, which in turn means you adjust more quickly. If you struggle to get to or stay asleep while flying, utilize some aids such as CBD and melatonin tablets, valerian supplements, specific sleeping tablets, and lavender oil.
Also, don’t overeat in transit since trying to digest food when resting doesn’t work well. Switch overhead lights off when it’s time to rest, too. Plus, when selecting flights, try to pick overnight ones when you’re more likely to be tired and can sleep anyhow.
Don’t Overschedule Yourself in the Days After Your Flight
Having a busy schedule in the first few days after you land at a new place won’t help you recover quickly as your mind and body need time to catch up with your movements and location. As such, try not to overschedule yourself with meetings or activities, etc., and instead ease into your days.
Exercise and Get Fresh Air Once You’ve Landed
Lastly, plan some time to get physical and move your body after you’ve landed. Exercising will assist you in releasing stress from your body and make it easier to stay awake during daylight hours as you adjust your body clock to the new time zone. Try to spend time outdoors for this activity, though, so you get exposed to natural sunlight. It helps to regulate melatonin release and reset your body clock.
Most of us have had to deal with jet lag at one point and know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. However, if you take some steps to combat this, you should find that you transition more smoothly when you fly abroad.
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