The body clock shifting after a trip across time zones will get to you one way or another. Feeling groggy, tired and hungry at weird times and a tad "slow"? You're not alone. While taking naps during coffee breaks between meetings to get through the day might hold you over, it’s bad for the body. Thankfully, with practice and a few tricks, you won’t have to suffer the consequences of a long haul flight. The last thing you want is to not be productive on a business trip or to not enjoy the vacation you flew hours for, right?
Here are Travelle’s tips for how to cope with and overcome jet lag:
Your Body Naturally Wakes With Light
Light is the most important cue telling the body clock when to sleep and when to be out and about, so controlling light helps control jet lag. Easing into a new schedule rather than shocking the system with caffeine will pay off, trust me. In summary:
When flying West - get bright morning light at your new destination, and avoid afternoon and evening light exposure.
When flying East - avoid early light exposure in morning and get as much light as possible in the afternoon and early evening.
It's not like you can tell the sun when to shine! But, there are superpower alternatives. Wear sunglasses when avoiding light, even if it means wearing shades at 7am at London Heathrow, and keep the hotel room curtains wide open when you wake up in San Diego.
Trick The Traveling Mind
Setting our watches to the new time when we board the plane helps us mentally adjust to our destination's schedule from the get-go. If you can, rest or nap if it’s nighttime where you’re going, and stay awake reading or watching movies if it’s daytime to combat jet lag.
Drink Water For Wellness
Booze and caffeine will only make you feel worse. Especially if you have it during the flight, where you’re already dry all around! Drink water every chance you get to keep your body hydrated and limit alcohol if at all possible, or at least while in transit and shortly before or after your flight.
Eat Healthy Meals
A healthy and well balanced diet means less pain from jetlag than if you eat junky complex carbs and saturated fats. When tired, it’s easy to be tempted to indulge during meals to try to stay awake. Keep it simple and clean. Veggies like carrots actually reduce flight fatigue because they offer resistance to oxygen deficiency on the plane, and your digestive system will thank you.
Sleep Better With Melatonin
Melatonin, which you can easily buy in the US (but perhaps not abroad), will likely help your jet lagged self sleep through the night at your destination. Like most things, it's not for everyone, so please consult your Doc! If she gives you the O.K, use it on overnight flights East and to stay in bed longer when West of home.
Here's to feeling fabulous in PST, EST or GMT alike.