When you travel across time zones, jet lag can be a very real concern. However, it doesn’t always have to cause you serious problems. If you are interested in reducing the impact of jet lag, here are some strategies that can help:
Drink Plenty of Water
One of the best things you can do for your body in almost any circumstance is to drink plenty of water. This applies when you fly as well as in almost any other circumstance. Staying hydrated can help you cope with most situations, and help you get over jet lag a little easier.
You can’t bring a full water bottle through security, but it is still possible to remain hydrated. If you have an empty water bottle, bring it along and fill it with water from a drinking fountain. If you have to, you can buy water at the airport, once you get passed the security checkpoint.
Jet lag can leave you feeling cranky. You’re tired, and you are usually hungry. It’s tempting to grab something quick and unhealthy, but try to eat better. Your body will be properly fueled for the next stage, and you will be better able to cope with the tiredness and crankiness that comes with long distance travel.
Bring your own healthy snacks, or bring extra money to buy them at the airport. If you plan to buy at the airport, remember that the items you purchase are going to be overpriced; you’ll want to build that into your budget.
Get on Local Time as Quickly as Possible
The hardest part of long distance travel is dealing with a large time change. When you are only dealing with one or two hours, it’s not a huge difference. However, if you have a major time change, you will feel the effects. If you want to deal with jet lag as quickly as possible, you need to get on local time quickly.
This means that if you arrive in the day, you keep with your schedule, completing activities and waiting until bedtime local time to sleep. It can be difficult, but healthy food and proper hydration can help. The faster you are on local time, the easier it is to get beyond the jet lag.
You can also power nap. Studies indicate that a 15 to 20 minute nap can help revitalize you. As you attempt to adapt to local time quickly, a power nap can keep you moving. One trick to an effective power nap is to have your cup of coffee just before you nap. It takes about 15 minutes for the caffeine to “kick in” and work, so it’s just enough time for you to take a power nap and then wake up for the caffeine to help you power through until it’s time to sleep.
It’s also an option to try to sleep on the plane if you are taking an especially long flight. Remember the “90 minute” rule in this case. It’s best if you can sleep in 90-minute chunks, since that is the approximate length a sleep cycle. So if you have a four to six hour flight, try to get three hours of sleep – that’s two cycles.
A little planning can go a long way as you combat jet lag. You won’t completely avoid the effects that come with jet lag and long distance travel, but you can reduce them a little bit, and it is possible to get over the impact a little bit faster when you make an effort.
What are your best travel tips for dealing with jet lag and fatigue?