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Apr 27 2016

7 Tips to Tackle Jet Lag

Frequent fliers and recreational vacationers alike have all experienced the unpleasant phenomenon of jet lag. Defined as extreme tiredness felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones, jet lag can have a profound impact on your sleep schedule, alertness and even your mood for days on end. Check out these tips on how to cure your jet lag so you can make the most of your time traveling.

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1.     Adjust to your new schedule before you take off

One of the most effective ways to cure jet lag is by adjusting your internal clock several days before you take off. If you are traveling to the east, make an effort to go to bed early for several days in a row. Do the opposite of this if your destination is in the west. Digestion cues your body on when it’s time to rest. Synchronizing your mealtimes and your sleep schedule according to destination ahead of time will significantly help curb the effects of jet lag.

2.  Adjust to your new schedule while in flight.

It’s just as important to adjust to your new schedule while in flight as it is before you take off. Make an effort to sleep on the plane if it’s nighttime in your destination, and vice versa if it’s during the day. To make the in-flight transition easier, try scheduling an overnight flight to maximize resting time. Traveling is extremely taxing, so the more time your body has to rest the better prepared you’ll be to take on the day upon arrival.

3.     Minimize in-flight sleep distractions

It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep on an airplane. With distractions like loud children, bright reading lights and turbulence, being well rested upon arrival at your destination may feel nearly impossible. That’s why it’s important to bring sleep accessories like airline pillows, earplugs and sleep masks in your carry-on luggage. These accessories can greatly improve your ability to adjust to a new time zone during a long flight.

4.     Stay hydrated

Not having enough water can increase your jet lag symptoms. To be sure you’re fully hydrated, have around eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air, and continue to drink water once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Also, make an effort to avoid caffeine and alcohol while you are traveling. While caffeinated drinks like coffee can help you feel more awake, it makes getting a solid night’s sleep more difficult to accomplish later on. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can worsen the effects of jet lag.

5.     Arrive at least a day early

One of the simplest ways to combat jet leg is to give your body time to adjust by arriving at your destination a day or two in advance. This tip is especially valuable if you’re flying on business and need to be energized for a day full of meetings and events.

 6.     Get outside upon arrival

Upon arrival, make an effort to get natural light exposure. Sunlight sends a signal to your brain to stay awake, helping adjust your body clock to coincide with your new surroundings. An easy way to make sure you get exposure to natural light is by going on a morning walk. Exercise combined with sun exposure is a great way to make sure you have energy for the day ahead after a long flight.

7. Set aside time to relax before bed

Relaxing before bedtime can help you feel sleepier—which is especially important when adjusting to a new time zone. Put down distractions that might keep you awake for too long like TVs, laptops and cellphone screens an hour before bedtime. Instead, use that hour to relax with some decaffeinated tea and a warm bath. The drop in your body temperature when you get out of the bath and step into a cool bedroom will make you feel sleepy.

For more tips on how to combat jet lag while traveling, check out the following sites:

National Sleep Foundation

Forbes

Independent.uk

BBC

Fodor’s Travel

 

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