7 Ways to Combat Jet Lag
Our bodies aren’t exactly designed to travel at high speeds across time zones. And although we’ve come a long way in the development of transportation, we still suffer from the consequences of those drastic changes in environment and routine. To make sure you're at your best when you arrive at your destination, try these methods for reducing the effects of jet lag.
Get a good night’s sleep. We know, it’s so tempting to put off packing until the very last minute. But staying up the night before stressing because you forgot to wash those pants you wanted to bring is a killer. You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep so your body can better recover from the time zone change.
Stay hydrated. The environmental changes that come with flying are really hard on your body. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, since these will make you groggier than anything. If you absolutely need that cup of coffee (or you’re just dying to kick off your vacation with a celebratory beverage), pair each drink with a glass of water.
Set your watch. Train your brain to get used to the new time zone as soon as you board the plane. Don’t do it beforehand or you’ll risk mixing up your flight time, but if you can psychologically prepare yourself once you’re seated, it will help get you in the mood to sleep and eat when you should.
Get some exercise. This one is especially important for those long-haul flights. Keeping your body moving—whether that means doing calf raises in your seat or walking back and forth down the aisle—helps your body stay relaxed and releases endorphins for an energy boost. Even small movements like in-seat leg-lifts make a difference.
Eat good food. This one goes hand-in-hand with exercise. It will be easier to fight jet lag with a healthy, happy body. Eating substantial meals that fill you up (and not an endless array of pretzels and peanuts) keeps you energized to be able to adjust to the time zone more easily. For an extra boost, try to eat meals that are in line with the time zone you’re traveling to.
Choose the right seat. Although you may not be able to opt for the luxury of First Class, there are still ways to make your experience easier in Economy. Avoid seats by lavatories since other passengers will be passing through and making noise regularly. Also stay away from the back of the plane, since these are the areas that feel turbulence the most.
Avoid sleeping pills. Although sleeping aids can sometimes be helpful, it’s easy to overuse them or use them at the wrong time. If your flight is less than 8 hours, try avoiding medications since they can keep you groggy once you arrive at your destination. If it’s longer, only use it as a tool to get on track with your upcoming time zone.
Credit: Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash
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