One of the most common issues for a regular traveler is jet lag. It’s also one of the hardest to deal with if you don’t prepare ahead of time. Changing time zones can wreak havoc on your natural circadian rhythms, affecting your entire trip. I have been very lucky in that whenever I’ve traveled abroad, it’s been to either El Salvador (same time zone as Texas) or Manila (where the people I meet with work American hours). After some research, I have found some effective ways in avoiding jet lag, and if you readers have any tips I would love to hear those as well!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I talk about this one a lot just for comfort’s sake, but keeping hydrated can help you avoid jet lag as well. Air on planes is drier than almost any place on earth, which can zap the moisture right out of your body. Drink 8-10 oz of water for every hour you’re on the plane.
- Change your watch immediately. Once you get on the plane, immediately change your watch or phone to the new time zone. This will help you figure out when to sleep or stay awake on the plane.
- Sleep (or stay awake) on the plane. If you are arriving in the morning, it is so important to sleep on the plane. There are a variety of aids, including Tylenol PM, melatonin, eyemask, white noise apps on your phone, ear plugs, blankets, pillows…. the list goes on and on. If you arrive at night and will be sleeping once you get to your hotel, do your best to stay awake on the plane. If you need to take a nap, try to keep it less than two hours.
- Go outside. Once you arrive, if it’s daylight try to spend some time outside or by a window. Sunlight can do wonders for waking you up and setting your natural rhythms.
- Before you go. If it’s at all possible, try to start resetting your internal clock before you go. Try getting up and going to bed an hour earlier or later, depending on where you’re going. Obviously, this isn’t feasible for everyone, but it can really help you get into that groove.
Readers, what are your favorite tips for avoiding jet lag?