How To: Beat Jet Lag
Whether you're headed across country or across the globe, the odds are pretty high that you will experience some form of the dreaded “jet lag.” As we all know, jet lag can hold us back from being our best selves on vacations, business trips or family outings. Don't worry though. We put together our favorite hacks for easing the symptoms of jet lag and feeling refreshed in a different time zone.
1. Drink More Water
We can feel your eyes rolling. Hear us out: A drop in humidity on board a plane can cause dehydration. Once dehydrated, your symptoms of jet lag can be exasperated. That headache? Now, it feels like a migraine. That sleepiness? Now, it feels like exhaustion. Slight nausea? Now, it’s unbearable. Save yourself the unnecessary suffering and guzzle down water during your flight.
2. Don’t Fear The Nap
Listening to your body is key to fighting jet lag. If you’re absolutely exhausted, but it’s the middle of the day, don’t fear the mid-day nap. Taking a cat nap in the middle of the day won’t ruin your sleep schedule for that evening and will actually promote a sense of wellbeing throughout your trip.
3. Plan Ahead
Be aware of what time you’re landing at. First, set your clocks (on your watch or phone) to the time at your destination. Next, plan your on-board sleeping accordingly. If you’re landing in the morning, plan to get as much rest as possible on the plane. If you're landing in the evening, hold off on sleeping so that you can get a solid night’s rest once you land.
It’s probably the last thing that you want to do, when you’re jet lagged. But, mustering up some energy to hit the gym will give you the endorphins needed to make it through the day. Even just 10 minutes on the treadmill or walking outside is enough to jumpstart the endorphins and start giving you those happy feelings!
5. The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Light is one of the biggest contributing factors to our body’s natural wake/sleep cycle. By avoiding or exposing yourself to natural light, you can influence how your body feels. Make sure that you’re sleeping in dark rooms to promote deep, restful sleep. Avoid bright light early in the morning, but expose yourself to varying amounts after 10 or 11am.
6. Don’t Add To The Jet Lag
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there could be other contributing factors to your sleeplessness. The first is called “First Night Effect”. First Night Effect occurs “when trying to sleep in a new or unfamiliar environment.” To avoid First Night Effect, bring comforting objects from home (like a beloved stuffed animal or favorite pillow) to familiarize yourself with the room. The second condition is called “On Call Effect.” This can be defined as “the nagging worry that something just might wake you up, such as the possibility of a phone ringing, hallway noise or another disruption.” You can avoid On Call Effect by having backups for all wake up calls or alarms; also by checking for any sleep disturbances before you go to bed.
Melatonin is an over-the-counter supplement and does not need a prescription. While we always endorse checking with your physician before trying anything new, melatonin is generally safe for use.
Melatonin is a natural chemical released by your body during bedtime. By supplementing melatonin, you can physically induce your body into a more sleepy, relaxed state.