The experience of traveling to a new place can be exhilarating, until you get that heavy, proverbial slap-in-the-face called jet lag. We’ve all been there; hours, sometimes days, of flights, layovers, cabs, and lots of waiting during a day of travel. By the time you get to your destination, you’re absolutely exhausted, depleted of energy, and your inner clock is out of whack. Don’t let jet lag get you down during a trip! Here are some ways to avoid and ease your jet lag so you can get out there and explore.
The Days Leading Up to Your Flights
Look up your destination’s time zone before you start traveling.
Try to get your body on the “new clock” the day or two before your long flights. This means no coffee if it’s night time in your arrival destination (don’t hate me!), try to stay awake, or just take short naps if it’s day time while you’re on the plane, etc. This has always helped me when traveling. Your body will at first feel the fatigue, but the earlier that you start, the earlier your body will grow accustomed to your “new” time zone.
The Day Of Travel
Avoid salty foods.
This is a pretty common travel tip, but along with avoiding some bloating, staying away from salty foods will also prevent some jet lag symptoms. Bloating from salty foods only adds to your jet lag exhaustion. Try to avoid them at all costs! I try to bring some snacks or buy a meal from the airport (beware of high prices) to bring on the plane so I can avoid the plane’s food if possible.
Drink lots of water.
I know you don’t want to be running back and forth to the plane bathroom your entire flight, BUT, staying hydrated will keep your body refreshed and also drive away the bloat. Drinking water will also help you (even if you don’t feel it) if you’re avoiding coffee to reset your inner clock. 🙂
The Day You Arrive
Get going right away!
As soon as you land, gather your luggage, refresh a bit, check into your hotel or Air B&B…GO! The best way to get your body on its “second wind” when arriving to a dissimilar time zone is to hit the ground running. You may feel close to death, but immersing yourself right away into your new “normal” time will be beneficial for the remainder of your trip.
Listen to me…do NOT take a nap when you arrive to your destination! Take a nap on the plane during your travels, but if it is day time or light outside, grab a giant cup of coffee and stay away from all beds and couches. Get yourself outside in the sunshine and take your mind off of sleeping. Trust me, this will help you snooze soundly later that night and you will feel the jet lag symptoms much less in the morning.
Go to bed at the “normal” time of your new destination.
I sort of said this before by saying don’t nap and get going once you arrive, but I think it’s important to state the obvious. If you arrive to your destination and it’s still day time hours, don’t go to sleep until it’s night time hours. And vice versa; if you arrive and it’s night time, go ahead and try to sleep. Matching the same schedule as your trip destination is key to beating jet lag. I’d also suggest taking some melatonin that first night to help fall asleep, if needed.
Get up at a “normal” time the next day after travel.
After you finally fall into your glorious bed that first night, set your alarm for a normal-ish wake-up time. Don’t sleep in too late, this will continue to throw your body off. I like to wake up around 7 or 7:30 the next morning and get going with breakfast, coffee, and exploring right off the bat.
Eat these foods when you arrive.
Oatmeal, bananas, goji berries, cherries, and chicken breast are all recommended foods for beating jet lag. These foods specifically help to add natural melatonin and hormones back into your system and reset your body’s clock. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with lots of water.
I’ll be following all of these jet lag tips for my upcoming trip this summer. Are there any additional jet lag tips you would recommend? Help us all out and share in the comments!