Whether you’re traveling for personal reasons or heading on a business trip, one thing that can stop you in your tracks is jet lag. Traveling between time zones can hinder your circadian rhythm, making it difficult to adapt to the new time zone. Some of the most common symptoms of jet lag include having trouble falling asleep and feeling fatigued and rundown. Here are a few tips for getting over jet lag quickly and help you acclimatize to the new time zone, so you can get back to your old self.
Prepare at Home
Before you head off on your travels, the best way to overcome jet lag is to do your research into the temporary sleep problem and know the triggers that can cause tiredness and fatigue. If you have traveled long-haul before and already know you suffer badly from jet lag, the best form of attack is to adapt your body’s rhythm a couple of days before departing. Long-haul journeys can take their toll on your physical and mental wellbeing, so getting a good night’s sleep before you travel is key. So, to wake up feeling refreshed, it’s important that you have a comfortable mattress – if yours is old, definitely choose a good one to replace it with.
It’s common to have disrupted sleep in the days prior to a trip, especially if you are stressed from work. Try and have a few early nights if possible. Think about the new time zone you’re heading to and adjust your routine to suit. Obviously, if you are heading to the other side of the world, it won’t work, but it’s helpful if you can move your bedtime forward or backward a little bit so that the new time zone isn’t a huge shock to the system.
Drink Plenty of Water
Keeping hydrated can help jet lag. When you are inside an aircraft, the cabin pressure can dry out your skin, leaving you feeling rundown and tired once you arrive at your destination. Whether you have a busy day of sightseeing ahead or an important business meeting, drinking lots of water is crucial. Staying hydrated keeps your body cool, helps your joints and muscles function better, and prevents dry mouth.
Steer clear of the alcoholic beverages when you travel long haul. One glass of wine with a meal won’t make a big difference, but knocking back the gin and tonics to try and help you sleep is a really bad idea. Sip bottled water instead and you’ll feel much better when you finally land.
Increase Sunlight Exposure
If you are traveling between time zones, you should boost the amount of time you spend in the sun once arriving at your destination. To achieve this, you can either go outside or open your blinds and window shades. While jet lag hates daylight and fresh air, you need to stand firm and force your body to transition to the local time, regardless of how much you want to sleep. The more sunlight exposure you get, the quicker your jet lag will go.
Say you arrive in the morning, but back home, it’s still evening. Instead of crashing on your hotel bed for a few hours, stay awake, and keep busy until evening. It will be really hard for a couple of days, but the sooner you get used to the new time zone, the easier it will be to throw off the effects of jet lag.
Get Some Exercise
When dealing with jet lag, physical exercise may be the last thing on your mind. When in a new time zone, getting some exercise can help you adjust better. If you really want to speed up the process of getting over your jet lag symptoms, exercising outdoors can have a dual effect, as you will be exposed to sunlight. Whether you head to a nearby gym or perform a workout from your hotel room, there are lots of activities and exercises you can perform to alleviate jet lag symptoms.
Go for a jog and soak up some sun or hit the hotel pool for a few laps. It should wake you up a bit and help you stay focused for a few hours.
Take Things Easy
Once you arrive at your destination, you should take things easy for the first couple of days. Your body will need time to adjust to the environment and time zone, even if you do everything we suggest. Keeping everything nice and stress-free can be a big help. Going on a long-haul journey can take its toll on your body, so you need to factor in time for recovery. Only you know your own mind and body, so if you’re feeling exhausted and can barely keep your eyes open, you may benefit from a few early nights rather than forcing yourself to stay up late.
Try Melatonin Tablets if You Can’t Sleep
Being unable to fall asleep is a common symptom of jet lag. The body is confused when we are plunged into a new time zone, so even though it’s nighttime, our body thinks it’s daytime and resists the notion of sleep. This is where taking melatonin can help.
Melatonin is a natural hormone. Our bodies produce melatonin when it gets dark- it signals to the brain that it’s time to sleep. Taking melatonin supplements can help alleviate the symptoms of jet lag and make it easier to sleep. Try taking a melatonin supplement around 30 minutes before you go to bed. It can also help if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep – take a small dose and try to relax until you feel sleepy.
Note: avoid mixing melatonin with alcohol and sleeping pills.
Whether you’re off on a family vacation, or you have important meetings and conferences to attend, the symptoms of jet lag can make it difficult to get through the day. To get over jet lag quickly, make sure that you put all the tips listed above into practice.