Travel

How to Beat Jet Lag

Frequent travelers it is time to beat our sworn enemy: jet lag.

Anyone who travels frequently has dealt with the extreme tiredness that accompanies traveling across multiple time zones. UCLA’s Alon Avidan says that jet lag doesn’t kick in unless you’re traveling across at least two time zones. At two time zones and more, whether to sleep on board or not depends on which direction you’re headed and the duration of the flight. Remember the expression west is best; east is a beast when planning your trip.

While there is no way to beat jet lag completely, there are a couple of things to do to help lessen its effects upon arrival.

Hydrate

The pressurized cabins of airplanes are known dry air, which leads to dehydration and in turn to sleepiness. Stick to water on your long-haul flights to stay hydrated. This won’t stop jet lag from occurring, but it’ll keep dehydration from adding to the effects of jet lag.

Sleep

If you can sleep on the plane – even for a few hours – it will make the difference. Earplugs and eye mask will help you get a little shut-eye. I recommend once on board the plane get yourself in the mindset of your destinations time zone and try to sleep nap on the plane accordingly. This will start the process of getting your internal clock on destination time.

Avoid Alcohol

Trust me, I get the pull of a glass of wine to fall asleep, but alcohol leads to dehydration (see above). Stick to something non-alcoholic for your flight over and at least for your first day upon arriving at your destination. Your trip will thank me.

Set Your Watch

You have made it to your destination. Set your watch to local time and do your best to function as you would base on their time. Also try eating three meals a day in the new time zone, even if this means a midnight snack.

Avoid Naps

We get it; you are very sleepy. But try to stay awake as long as possible on your first day arriving to your destination and try going to bed as close to your usual bed-time as you can. It is also best to plan a slower day for your first day at your destination so as not to compound the exhaustion further.

For Short Trips: Don’t Shift Time

If you are jetting off to Europe for a 24-hour or 48-hour trip, it is recommended to stick with your local time. This will prevent crazy shifts in sleep patterns when you return home.

In my experience, if you follow these steps, you’ll be adjusted and ready to explore by day two or three!

What are your tips for combating jet lag?

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