Sometimes, jet setting comes with a jarring time jump. In turn, jet lag is sure to follow. And the more time zones you travel across, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.
Jet lag occurs after traveling quickly across time zones. When the internal clock is disrupted, our body’s daily rhythm suddenly falls out of sync. Gradually, your body will adjust to the time zone you’ve traveled to. But this may not happen overnight.
Traveling to far-away destinations will always involve adapting to the time difference, whether your body is ready for it upon arrival or not. Typically, jet lag does not last very long, but it can throw even the most seasoned traveler off. And no matter where you’re going, you’ll have to adjust eventually.
If you’re eager to embrace your trip without lag-time issues, there are some ways to adjust more readily and potentially leave those jet lag symptoms fully behind.
Here are 5 of the best ways to overcome jet lag and not waste a minute of your trip.
Adapt To Your New Time Zone
When you arrive at your destination, make a conscious effort to connect to the time of day where you’re at. Don’t think about the time back home. Work on becoming a part of your new environment immediately. So it’s time to let go of your usual schedule.
Most smart devices and electronics will update the clocks for you, but if you have a watch set to a time zone you’re no longer going to be in, adjust it before your plane takes off. This should also help your system adjust, even if only a little bit.
Read More: 8 Tips For Better Sleep While Traveling
Set a Sleep Schedule
No matter where you go, a healthy sleep schedule is crucial. And sleeping at the times we’re meant to be sleeping can sometimes make the biggest difference. By the time you land, decide on your sleep schedule. It should be based on your new time zone and you should make an active effort to stick to it.
Even if you can’t get on a sleep schedule, getting as much rest as possible is key. You shouldn’t force yourself to stay awake if you feel the urge to sleep. With that said, the best way to avoid sleepless nights is to make sure you’re not dozing too often during the day. In other words, avoid the urge to nap with a good night’s sleep in mind. But don’t ignore your body if it’s saying that “now” is the non-negotiable time to sleep.
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest steps you can take, but it is also one of the most effective. Long-distance travel remains a well-documented culprit for causing dehydration, after all. That’s the last thing you need while you’re busy seeing the world. So stay on top of your water intake, even if you don’t feel particularly parched.
Staying hydrated is always important and dehydration can make jet lag symptoms worse. While you’re airborne, your body is no longer moving through its daily routine. And so, your typical water intake gets thrown off with the time jump.
To combat jet lag and travel fatigue, make a dedicated effort to drink plenty of water before you fly, while you fly, and long after you’ve landed.
Read More: Seven Tips for International Travel
Find the Light
It might sound counterintuitive, but you should get some sun with deep sleep in mind. As mentioned, jet lag affects your energy levels by interrupting your body’s internal clock. Exposure to light shifts when you travel, throwing off your circadian rhythm.
“Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark,” per NIH.
Sunlight can help you wake up. For one thing, it can decrease the darkness-induced release of hormones that make you sleepy like melatonin. Try to expose yourself to morning light to get your body’s clock on your new time zone’s light and dark schedule. If you prefer to stay out of the sun, look into special lamps designed to regulate circadian rhythms. The general consensus is that these “light boxes” really work.
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Space
Obviously, we can’t always swing every accommodation we desire, but a restful space for slumber should be prioritized, especially on long trips. When traveling across time zones, it’s key to make sure we’re comfortable enough to actually sleep once we’re there. Jet lag is often unavoidable, so do everything you can to make sleep happen when it needs to.
Creating a comfortable sleeping space is one of the best ways to combat jet lag and start every day refreshed. What does it take for you to feel comfortable? Everyone is different. Set the thermostat to a sleep-friendly temperature for you, set your phone to silent, and do all of the little things that work for you back at home when you are most serious about getting some shut-eye.
Read More: 11 Ways To Deal With Travel Fatigue