6 Lifesaving Jet Lag Remedies Everyone Should Know
Aka how to not be a zombie after vacation
You just got back from the trip of a lifetime and all you can think about is how much you want to face-plant onto your bed…at 3 p.m. Jet lag got the best of you, but if you follow these six simple steps next time, you can minimize the effects of jet lag—if not avoid it altogether.
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule Pre-Flight
This one takes a little planning but definitely pays off in the long run. A few days before a trip,gradually adjust your sleeping and eating schedules to match up more closely with those at your destination. So if you’re traveling east, go to bed earlier in the days leading up to your trip; ifyou’re traveling west, push your bedtime later. Preparing your internal clock will make for a less harsh adjustment once you step off the plane.
Fuel Your Body Right
While traveling, it’s tempting to throw your healthy-eating ways out the window. But remember that what you eat and drink will affect how you feel. Try to avoid excess caffeine (which will dehydrate you) and alcohol (which might help you fall asleep fast but will diminish the quality of your rest). Drink as much water as you can and eat light, nutritious meals to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders throughout your trip. (Or at least add a salad to your pasta order.)
Change Your Watch Immediately
Like, as soon as your flight takes off. It’s mostly psychological, but adjusting your watch to the time zone of your destination will help you ease into the new schedule and get into the groove sooner.
You know how thinking about something stressful makes you more stressed about it? That definitely applies for jet lag fears. Try to stay as relaxed as possible before, during and after your trip so you don’t trick yourself into feeling more jet lagged than you are. Plan logistical things in advance so you’re not running around like a chicken with its head cut off and just enjoy your trip without the lurking fear of post-flight exhaustion.
Don’t Stray Too Far in a Short Amount of Time
If you’re planning a trip for pleasure and have only four days or less, try to avoid going places more than two time zones away from home. In such a short period of time, your body will be thrown off even more. It’s worth saving faraway trips for when you can devote, say, a full week.
Resist the Urge to Nap
Once you get to your destination, you might want to take a nap before doing anything else. Unless it’s bedtime in that country, try to stay awake until it’s socially acceptable to go to sleep. Get outside (the day light and fresh air will keep you up way more than staying indoors will). Waiting until, say, 10 p.m. to get some much-needed rest will do wonders for your trip in terms of enjoyability and productivity.