How to Beat Jet Lag
Anyone who has traveled around across multiple time zones knows that jet lag is a very. real. thing. Sometimes even traveling a seemingly short distance like from Chicago to LA (a 2-hour time difference) can cause your body to get all out of whack.
*Fun Fact: Flying EAST will actually increase the possibility of you feeling symptoms of jet lag!*
Jet lag is caused by a sudden change in your body's internal clock, aka your Circadian Rhythm. Symptoms of jet lag can include:
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Poor physical performance/energy
- Lack of concentration/mental energy
- Change in appetite
- Indigestion or constipation
Despite all these icky things that can happen, there are a few travel hacks and tips you can use to mitigate the possibility of jet lag and beat it all together! Try using some of these pro travel tips next time you're flying across time zones to beat the jet lag naturally and skip on having to take any pills or supplements.
Before Your Flight
1. Adjust Your Schedule
When you're traveling to a new time zone, try shifting your schedule at least a day or two in advance to start preparing. Adjust the time you go to bed and do some of your daily routines, change your watch to the new time zone, and even eat some of your meals on the new time zone. Doing this will help to decrease your body's shock of internal time change when you actually arrive to your destination.
2. Hit the Gym
Getting a good workout in before you embark on a long haul flight is a good way to get the blood circulating properly in your body and relax any tense muscles. If it fits into your schedule, hit the gym before you leave for a long flight so you can feel more relaxed and mobile. Don't forget to get a nice stretch in there too!
3. Eat the Right Things
Avoid eating foods that are too greasy, spicy, or heavy before your flights. When you sit on a plane for extended periods of time with these types of foods in your body, it can cause indigestion, stomach pains, and other gross things. Eat a nutritious meal before your flight, and try to skip the booze and coffee as caffeine and alcohol can severely dehydrate you at high altitudes.
4. Fly at Night
If it's possible (especially if you're traveling eastbound), book your flight to fly at night. This way, you can sort of trick your body into thinking that it's bedtime when you get on the plane. When you arrive to your destination, it will most likely be daytime, so you'll be rested and ready to go!
During Your Flight
5. Stay on Your Destination's Time
Once you get onto the plane, stay on the time schedule of your destination. If it's bedtime in your destination, try to get right to sleep. If it's daytime at your destination, do everything you can to stay awake. I did this on a 13-hour flight from Istanbul to Chicago once... Oh boy... I was big time STRUGGLING when I arrived at O'Hare, but I slept like a baby that night once I got back to my bed. Do everything you can to stay on your new time zone!
6. Move Around
Make sure you're moving around here and there during your flight. Get up and take a small walk around the cabin or get up to stretch every once in awhile. You can even do small stretches--like stretching your arms or rolling your ankles--in your seat without having to get up and do much movement. Just something to get the blood circulating again is better than nothing.
7. Keep Hydrated
Dehydration while flying is a huge contributor to increased jet lag. Make sure you're keeping hydrated by bringing a large water bottle with you to the airport and filling it up before you go. Always take advantage of the flight attendants providing water when they come around. Try your best to avoid caffeine and alcohol when you're flying too since that causes extreme dehydration in high altitudes.
Once You Arrive
8. Hit the Ground Running
Literally and figuratively... I know how appealing it sounds to take a nap once you arrive to your destination, but do everything you can to stay active if it's daytime. Hit the hotel gym and get a nice sweat going (it's great for circulation and getting your muscles back to normal), rehydrate by drinking lots of water, and spend as much time in natural light as possible. Sometimes the excitement of being in a new destination is enough to give me the energy to stay up and about. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you keep at it and keep moving!
9. Eat a High Protein Breakfast
If it's morning at your destination, eat a high protein breakfast as soon as you arrive to help prevent drowsiness and keep you alert. Eating lots of protein will replenish your body with the fuel it needs to get going for the rest of the day. The healthier the better!
10. Eliminate Distractions at Bedtime
When it comes time for bed, put away your cell phone and turn off the TV at least an hour before you hit the hay. The lights from the screens will disrupt your sleep cycle, which is the last thing you want when you're trying to adjust to the new time zone. You need to let your mind and body decompress before it's time to sleep.
What are ways that you try to fight jet lag? Comment below with some more tips!