One of the downsides of travel is jet lag. Feeling sluggish, unrested, and tired is a terrible way to start any trip. Here are a few practical ways to minimize jet lag before, during, and after your trip.
- Pack well in advance, so you aren’t stressed out and scrambling. There is nothing worse than laying away all night, paranoid you are forgetting something.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep the week before you go. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at a consistent hour. Seriously, do it.
- Eat Healthy Carbohydrates. The release of insulin may help reestablish your internal clock. I will eat a carb-heavy dinner (lots of roasted veggies and pasta) when traveling eastward. Look for foods naturally rich in melatonin and tryptophan. I will also eat a carb-heavy breakfast (oatmeal and fruit) when flying westward. These will provide me with sustained energy throughout the day.
- Take a supplement like 1Above. I started taking it about a year ago. It’s scientifically formulated to ease the effects of jet lag. The combination of pycnogenol, 8 Vitamins and 6 electrolytes supports your immunity and speeds up recovery.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It might be common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people will drink soda, alcohol, coffee, and energy drinks but don’t drink water. Not hydrating with water will guarantee you suffer from jet lag.
- Only sleep on the plane if it’s a “red-eye” or overnight flight. If you fall asleep on a daytime flight, you may not sleep that night. Bring a travel eye mask and earplug set to minimize flight stimulation. Also, don’t be afraid of sleep aids for overnight flights. I almost always taking one on a when I board for a flight overseas.
- Do not take a nap unless you’ve arrived in the morning. If you must take a nap use your alarm to avoid oversleeping. If you arrive after noon, get to it! Explore your new surroundings and push yourself to make it to your local bedtime.
- Set your watch to the local time. Psychologically it will help you adapt to your sleeping and eating times once you arrive.
- Bask in the sun. Daylight and sunshine can help diminish jet lag. It also gives you a vitamin D boost.
- Try not to sleep on the plane home unless it coincides with your normal bedtime. Also, resist the urge to nap once you are home. Again it’s best to try to make it to your regular bedtime. Keep busy to keep the blood flowing. Once you sit down to veg out in front of the TV it will signal to your body how tired you are and sabbotage a good night’s rest.
What do you do to minimize jet lag? Let us know in the comments below!