Many people suffer from jet lag after a long-distance flight. Jet lag is particularly noticeable when the destination time zone is five or more hours different than the origin time zone. It typically takes a few days to fully recover and get back into a normal sleeping routine. Most people agree that the worst jet lag comes with west-to-east travel. If you’re a frequent traveler or planning a long-distance trip, use these five tips to fight jet lag:
Prepare for Jet Lag Before Your Trip
Prepare for jet lag by getting plenty of sleep ahead of your trip. Traveling can be exhausting at the best of times, but jet lag can make it a whole lot worse. Prepare yourself in advance by modifying your schedule and going to bed an hour earlier or later each week, depending on where you’re going. For example, if your destination’s time zone is four hours earlier, go to bed an hour earlier than usual each week for four weeks.
Sleep on the Plane
Most people feel it’s challenging to sleep on a plane, but it is possible - with the right supplies. Bring earplugs, a sleep mask, a travel pillow, and a light blanket. The airline might provide some of those, particularly on long-distance flights. You may find that it’s worth upgrading to a more comfortable seat. Some planes even have lie-flat seats in business class.
Adjust Your Eating Schedule
As previously mentioned, you should adjust your sleep schedule to combat jet lag before you even set off. It’s also a good idea to get into a routine of eating as though you’re already at your destination, and you should start to adapt your eating schedule at least a week before you leave - stick to it when you’re on the plane.
Hydrate! Dehydration Can Amplify Jet Lag Symptoms
It seems like dehydration makes everything worse, right? That’s certainly the case for jet lag. Airplane washrooms are sub-par, but it’s important to stay hydrated, even if that means more trips to that mini-bathroom on the plane. If you suffer considerably during long-distance flights and jet lag is a major problem for you, you should steer clear of alcohol and caffeine.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces around the time you go to sleep. Taking it as a supplement before you want to sleep will help your internal clock adjust and help you get to sleep at your desired time. Try taking it about half an hour before you want to go to sleep. For optimal results, you should use melatonin for the first three or four days of your vacation.