How to Overcome and Prevent Jet Lag
Jet lag is something we have all experienced and all hate. Arriving at a new destination feeling tired and groggy is something nobody wants to experience. Jet lag kills your energy, causes restless nights, and can even cause upset stomachs.
Eliminating jet lag entirely might not be possible but there are ways to lessen the symptoms and prevent some of them from occurring.
- Hydrate- This cannot be emphasized enough and should be a top priority before and during your flight. Becoming fatigued or dehydrated will only make the symptoms of jet lag worse.
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol- This might be difficult for some because free coffee and soda can be tempting. Alcohol is often used to calm nerves or just a way to relax by many. While they might make the flight more enjoyable they will only worsen potential feelings of jet lag at the destination. Stick to water and drink it often. It is best to bring your own water bottle and fill it up before boarding the plane.
- Stay Active in the Cabin- Get up and walk around the cabin at least every hour. Do some light stretching in an open space. I have even see passengers doing Tai Chi by the bathrooms, however, I am not sure this is for everyone but a little exercise in the air will go a long way.
- Stay Awake- Sure sleeping is a great way to pass the time in the air but if it is nighttime when you land falling asleep will be very difficult. Try to adjust to the new time zone by avoiding too much sleep on the plane. This way falling asleep at the destination will be easier and your body can adjust faster.
- Plan Ahead- Need to sleep on flights? Book an overnighter and spend the day site seeing as usual. Your body will still be a little off on the time of day but at least the sunlight and exercise can help you adjust and fall back to sleep at a regular hour. Sleeping aids can be used on flights and have worked wonders for me in the past but only for overnight flights.
- Eat at Local Time- Most experts recommend eating light meals or eating during the times of the local destination while on the flight. This will help the body to adjust before you even land.
- Fasting- This was a new idea to me until I read about it on The Points Guy and it is a very interesting idea. This has a lot to do with the arrival time and eating during at the local destination. Fasting can prepare your body to eat at the time of the local destination and help avoid jet lag symptoms on arrival.
- Get Some Exercise- As soon as the plane touches down it might be tempting to head to the hotel for a nap but try to resist this temptation. If your 7 hour flight is arriving at 8am in Paris, for example, then go out for breakfast and explore the city on foot. Not only will eating breakfast at local time help you adjust but the exercise will alleviate some symptoms of jet lag you may be feeling.
Of course you do not need to do all of these every time you fly. Many factors such as flight duration or the time change will effect how you feel on arrival. Test some of these out on your next long flight and see what works best for you.
My favorite ways to avoid jet lag are staying hydrated, adjusting sleep patters, and exercising. Find out what works for you and have a more enjoyable trip.
Photo via Time