Feeling Extra Tired After Your Trip? How To Avoid Jet Lag
When we travel and change time zones, it’s normal for our bodies to need time to adjust. While we’re adjusting, we might experience insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, and confusion. If you’re traveling, you probably don’t want to miss any time dealing with the problems that come with jet lag, so we’ll give you some tips on how to avoid jet lag and all its pesky symptoms.
-Prepare your body for the time change: Start changing your sleep schedule the weeks leading up to your trip by either going to bed earlier or later. Doing this will help your body adapt gradually, which may help you avoid some of the symptoms of jet lag. Do the same thing with meal times.
-Drink lots of water: It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re traveling because jet lag usually causes dehydration. You should also try to avoid drinks that have alcohol or caffeine because they’ll make you more dehydrated. Pick up a big bottle of water in the airport and try to finish it on the flight (you may also want to try to get an aisle seat).
-Change your watch as soon as you take off. This will help you get prepared mentally for the time change. If it’s daytime at your destination, don’t sleep on the plane. If it’s nighttime, try to get some sleep. Some airlines will give you a kit with everything you need, but just in case, bring an eye-mask and earplugs. If it is a particularly long flight, you may want to think about reserving a seat in business or first class, which will have bigger chairs and will help you fall asleep. As a last resort, you can talk to your doctor about sleeping pills.
When you arrive
-Get outside and do some exercise: Being in the sunlight will help your body adjust to the new time zone. Don’t spend your day sitting or in your hotel room. If you can, get outside and run or take a walk for 30 minutes. Getting outside will give you time to stretch your legs, and get your body prepared for the new schedule. If you need a nap, keep it short. Sleeping will only make your jet lag worse. If you can’t leave your hotel for some reason, let in as much light as you can. You can also do some exercises in your room.
-Keep your meals light: Besides a new sleeping routine, your body also has to get used to a new digestive schedule, which is why it’s a good idea to eat lightly for a few days. Eating heavy or hard-to-digest foods will make digestion more difficult. You should also try to eat something high in protein when you arrive, it’ll keep you awake and alert.
-Think about taking melatonin: If you didn’t know, melatonin is a hormone that our bodies create naturally when we are going to sleep. If you take melatonin when you want to sleep, you’re telling your body that it is time to sleep and it will help adjust your internal clock. If you’re not careful taking melatonin, your body might adapt to the wrong sleeping pattern and make things worse. To get used to a time to go to sleep, take melatonin for 4 days in a row when you arrive. Before taking melatonin, ask a specialist if you should be taking it.
Jet lag can be difficult and uncomfortable, but our bodies are adaptable and can manage the change, they just needs some time. Be patient and you’ll be back to normal in no time!
Molly is a writer specialized in health and psychology. She is passionate about neuroscience and how the brain works, and is constantly looking for new content from interesting sources. Molly is happy to give or take advice, and is always working to educate and inspire.
This post is also available in: Spanish