How to Beat Jet Lag Like a Pro ✈️⏳👊
After tens of thousands of miles flown around the world, jet lag is a familiar foe I know all too well. It occurs when your body’s internal clock is still synced with your original time zone. Jet lag can make you feel sick, decrease your alertness in a crucial business meeting, or even sabotage the first day or two of a well-earned vacation. Fortunately, with experience comes adaptation, so here are some of my pro tips for conquering jet lag before it conquers you.
Ease the transition ⏰
The physical and mental stress involved in traveling can be draining. 😫 If you are traveling for an event or business meetings that begin at a set time, consider booking an earlier flight or even bumping up your arrival date to give yourself a buffer for some extra rest you might not have accounted for. Give your body a chance to adjust by arriving with plenty of time to get situated.
A few days ahead of the trip, adjust your usual bedtime to make the transition easier. If you are traveling backwards by a three-hour time zone change, try to go to bed three hours earlier in the days leading up to your trip. For distant international trips, this might not be totally possible, but modifying your bedtime by even a few hours can go a long way in preparing you for significant leaps across time zones.
En route ✈️
Sip smart. Did you know that air travel can cause dehydration? The air inside airplane cabins is much less humid than the the typical air inside our homes. Even relatively short flights can leave you feeling drained and thirsty. I like to drink Essentia alkaline water and always sip coconut water before and during my flight. Try to skip the coffee, teas, and sodas too if possible during the flight, as caffeine is known to contribute to dehydration. And it should go without saying, but pass on alcohol entirely. 🚫🍸 No one needs a hangover upon arrival. When you land, drink more water.
After you land 🌆
Stay awake. Even though it’s tempting to take a nap, it will only slow you down and disrupt your sleep pattern. 😪 The goal is stay up until the normal bedtime in your new time zone so that you can get your body’s circadian rhythm back in sync. If you need some extra energy now, grab a skinny latte or a shot of espresso. If you bother napping you risk finding yourself up while everyone else is sleeping later, which means the next day you’ll need another nap during waking hours.
Check the hotel accommodations before you leave town so you know where the fitness center is, what the hours are, and if there is onsite dining. Getting in a workout is a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep. Staying for just one night? Make your gym clothes your PJs and save space in your carry-on bag.
When it comes to food, avoid highly processed and salty foods while on the road. Do your best to eat minimally processed foods (organic fruits and vegetables, grilled chicken breasts, salads, etc. and stay away from high sodium and fast-food options). Planning ahead is key—I like to travel with protein bars, ZEN fit, almonds, and a green apple so I’m not tempted to eat scones from Starbucks (I’m always tempted to eat scones at Starbucks).
Going to bed 💤
If you need some help getting to sleep once it’s time for bed in your new local time zone, try taking some melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. My favorite daily supplement containing melatonin is PM Essentials by Jeunesse. This particularly comes in handy when traveling, as it helps prepare my body for a restful sleep, which can be more difficult than usual when sleeping in an unfamiliar place or when you are anxious.
Before bed, be sure to wear socks. Not only am I a total germaphobe (I wear flip-flops in hotel showers), but
“heating cold feet causes vasodilation—dilation of the blood vessels—which may tell the brain that it is bedtime,” according to sleep.org. “After the blood vessels open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed throughout the body to prepare for sleep.”
Do you have any special tips for avoiding jet lag? Please share them in the comments below! 👇👇👇