Written by Neha Singh, Guest Writer & Travel Blogger
Traveling is gradually opening up this year and it is an amazing experience, but the chaos that comes along with it is not really pleasant. Long journeys along with frenzied layovers and sleepless flights will overall make you jet-lagged once you arrive at your destination. So what really is jet lag and how to prevent it?
For those who don’t know, jet lag is a kind of disorder that occurs when it disrupts your circadian rhythm or internal clock (which actually causes your body to fall asleep and awake) due to your travel across different time zones. Al though it is temporary, it may sometimes leave you feeling sick, sluggish and extremely fatigued.
So if you are looking to prevent this condition, this guide has some cool tips on how to get over jet lag.
1. Adjust Your Sleep Pattern
Make changes in your sleep pattern, starting from a few days prior to your travel date. You can do this via staying up late night for one or two hours in case you are traveling to east or hitting the bed early if you are flying or traveling to east. This helps you to get accustomed to the new sleeping habit and further overcome jet lag much easier than you imagine. Together with this, it is also recommended to make alterations in your eating habits.
2. Pick Your Flight Time Wisely
Choose your flight time in such a way that it well responds to your internal clock. It is most ideal to opt for an overnight flight rather than a morning or evening flight. With this, you will be able to have your dinner (more or less) at your usual time and that too without disturbing your normal sleep pattern. Subject to the duration of your flight journey, you will reach your destination in the early morning or afternoon. On the whole, this greatly emulates your normal routine means you will be able to kick off your holiday or business trip in a more energizing way without wasting time to deal with the jet lag.
3. Be Well Armed
Picking the right travel time or flight alone may not help you to get over the jet lag. It is equally important to carry right things to assure yourself of a peaceful sleep while airborne or during your travel. So to make this possible, it is vital that you pack items such as earplugs, a comfy travel pillow, an eye mask, a blanket, a white noise machine and a book (if essential). All these will make you easily fall asleep, thus allowing you to relax your mind and body. Apart from these, make sure that the temperature of your travel space is set as per your comfort levels.
4. Avoid Taking Naps
It is fine to take a quick, short nap of less than 30 minutes. But, as it may affect your sleep schedule, try not to take long naps during the journey, especially if your flight is in the day time. Stay awake as much as possible. No matter how much tired or exhausted you are, the same applies if you reach your destination in the day time. Try to be active all through the day before you go to the bed a bit earlier than your usual time.
5. Get Enough Sunlight
Getting not enough sunlight is one of the main reasons behind your jet lag as it interferes with the functioning of your internal clock. So try to get adequate sunlight; this will invigorate your body while minimizing the release of melatonin hormones which cause you to sleep. Get outdoors or open the window shades to expose yourself to light. That said, make sure that you apply sunscreens in order to protect your skin against the harmful UV rays. But, what if you are heading to west and need more light at dusk or night to adjust with the new time zone? There are special lamps that let you cope with it.
6. Say No to Alcohol and Caffeinated Items
Limit or completely eliminate the intake of alcohol. This will not only upsets the quality of your sleep, but also may sometimes throw off your routine itself. Surely, you don’t want to wake up with hangover in your new destination. When it comes to caffeinated drinks or items such as soda and chocolates, it is okay to take it in moderate quantity, particularly in the day time. But for your night flight, it is recommended to completely avoid it, so that it won’t interrupt your sleep cycle.
7. Keep Yourself Away from Gadgets
For your night journey, make sure that you put your smart phones, computers or tabs away at least an hour before you go to sleep. This is because the blue light that emit from the screen of your phone or gadget may sometimes make it difficult for you to fall asleep. This restricts the production of melanin while keeping you psychologically alert at night. All these become causative for your jet lag, making you inactive next day.
8. Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated
Eating right food at the right time is just as important as avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks during travel. It is advisable to rely on protein-enriched food, healthy salads and fresh fruits including berries – but intake all of them in limited quantity. Also, say a big no to unhealthy, processed and high sodium content food items (served onboard) which makes it difficult for your body to digest. Along with these, it is important to ensure that you drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the flight or journey.
9. Take Supplements
If you don’t want to compromise the functioning of your circadian rhythm due to jet lag, you can take supplements which helps in the release of melatonin. That said, avoid depending on any kind of unhealthy drugs or over-the-top counter options to induce sleep. Whichever supplement you choose, be sure to take the opinion of a medical expert before you consume it. It is especially imperative if you have any kind of ailments or physical complications.
10. Plan Your Itinerary Thoughtfully
Pre-plan your travel program and make sure that it is designed in such a way that it will reset your routine. As you arrive at your spot, you can remain awake or hit the bed depending on your arrival time. Moreover, on your first day, refrain yourself from indulging in high-octane activities. To make the most of your holiday, you can take assistance of a travel specialist who will help you to create an itinerary that will sync with your internal clock.
As we wrap this post up, we anticipate that it has given some amazing ideas to enjoy your flight and most importantly overcome the jet lag. Now if you have any further suggestion to avoid jet lag, be sure to share with us in the comment section below.