Jet lag is a terrible thing and something that can leave you tired for days and even weeks – these tips are here to prevent it and get back to your best at work asap.
- Get in tune with your internal clock
Start adjusting your internal clock to match your destination’s. You stand a better chance if you do this at least four days before departure. One of the best ways to do this is by eating and sleeping at the set times. This way, you’ll be able to adopt the local time there faster and without any strain.
- Consider overnight flights
You are more likely to fall asleep when flying at night as compared to an afternoon flight. Factor in the length of the flight, and time zones to cross before arriving at the destination when booking a flight. Do some research to know what time the plane will touch down to plan your time and schedules accordingly.
- Avoid coffee
While coffee helps you stay alert, it contains compounds that can prevent you from falling asleep during long flights. Be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks 12 hours before your flight. Taking coffee or other caffeinated drinks a few hours or during a flight will not only induce sleeplessness but also cause you to wake up often during the journey. Such disruptions are known to cause jet lag.
- Drink lots of water
Health experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Follow this principle even when flying abroad. Be sure to clean your contact lenses (if any) a few hours before the flight. Take eye drops and the cleansing liquid with you when traveling. It would also be advisable to remove the contact lenses when taking a nap. Moisturizing lip balm, lotion, and hydrating spray (with essential oils) can also help keep you hydrated throughout the journey. Ensure all toiletries in your possession are TSA compliant to avoid getting in trouble.
- Limit/avoid alcohol inflight
Attitude and cabin air can have a tremendous effect on passengers, and especially when one has one or two drinks. Although you might know this already, one drink on the ground is equivalent to two when in the air. If possible, avoid alcoholic drinks before and during the flight, as these could dehydrate you even more.
- Try sleeping during the flight
Sleeping during long flights can be therapeutic at times. It not only relieves pressure on your brain but also makes it easy to deal with jet lag. This is mostly recommended when flying west to east, such as from the United States to Asia. If possible, save up a few more dollars to book a seat in the business or first class. You should be able to sleep much better with seats that recline all the way in first class as compared to economy class. Choosing a window seat can also help you sleep well as well. Just remember to bring some pillows or a form of padding to make I easier to prop up against the window/wall. If you can’t sleep, in flight meditation can help – check out this advice on it from London Meditation.
- Use sleeping pills sparingly
Sleeping pills come in handy when you need to fall asleep fast. While they can be helpful, it is advisable to time your dosage just right, and take short-cycle pills to avoid getting groggy upon landing. You shouldn’t however try sleeping pills for the first time on flight.
- Try melatonin
Melatonin is a non-prescription drug that helps the body adjust its internal clock. The hormone controls when we fall asleep or wake up hence can be used to prevent or reduce the effects of jet lag. Studies show that taking 3mg of fast-release melatonin just before bedtime a few days before the flight can help ease transition significantly.
- Get some sunshine
Try to get as much sunshine as possible on reaching your destination. This should help your body to adjust naturally to the new surroundings and time.