Girl With Coffee
Image Source: Pixabay  –

If you’ve never experienced jet lag first hand, you might scoff it off as a myth. That is, until you take your first 10-hour flight to a different country and realize that big time zone changes can suck the life right out of you.

Every human body is programmed to feel comfortable within a certain 24-hour period. We know when we eat, work, and sleep, and suddenly altering that schedule can be jarring. Not only can jet lag mess with your circadian rhythm and through your mental state into disarray, but it can also cause problems like loss of appetite, indigestion, and fatigue.

Next time you plan to switch time zones by more than a few hours, here are a few tips that will help you control and/or simplify jet lag recovery to minimize its negative effects. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your trip fully without feeling like a walking zombie in a new city.

 1. Use the Flight as a Transitional Period

 Plane Landing

Image Source: Pixabay –

When flying from America to Europe, it’s often smart to book a flight that leaves during the evening here in the states. This will keep your body on schedule and help you sleep on the flight, and when you land, it’ll be morning time at your destination. Sure, the schedule won’t be exactly what you’re used to, but getting a good night’s sleep on the flight can make a world of difference in your experience over the next few days.

Sleeping on planes can be challenging, especially if you have a noisy neighbor or you’re in a middle seat with minimal space. To make sure you get some good shut-eye, pack essentials like noise-canceling headphones, a sleep mask, a comfy sweatshirt, and maybe even a neck pillow. Some people swear by taking sleeping pills, but others claim that aggravates their jet lag even more, so it’s up to you if you want to take the risk.

2. Begin Shifting Your Schedule Before You Start Traveling

Alarm Clock

Image Source: Pixabay

One of the best ways to avoid the shock of jet lag is to gradually shift your schedule to fit the time zone of your destination. For instance, if you’re traveling to London and it’s six hours ahead of your local time, start to move your meals and bedtime ahead by thirty minutes for a few nights before you depart. This will make adjusting to England’s time zones much easier.

3. Stay Hydrated Throughout Your Travels

 Water Glass on Table

Image Source: Pixabay

When a headache hits after a long period of travel, you might feel the urge to medicate with booze or caffeine. During the first few days after your flight, this is an incredibly self-sabotaging move. Several factors on planes, from cabin humidity to high altitudes, can cause you to lose fluids quickly. Many of the physical and mental problems you face after disembarking actually come from dehydration, not jet lag, so keep a water bottle glued to your side and drink up every day.

 4. Avoid Falling Prey to Naptime


Image Source: Pexels

Although you might feel like hitting your hotel room for a quick power nap around 4:00 PM on your first day, don’t give into temptation. Sleeping at odd times will only extend your battle with jet lag. Instead, focus on adapting to your new location’s schedule as quickly as possible. The sooner your circadian rhythm adjusts, the better you’ll start to feel.

 5. Plan an Easy First Day at Your Destination


Image Source: Pexels

More often than not, we’re on a tight schedule while traveling. You’re probably anxious to start your vacation and see all of the amazing sites in the area, but if jet lag hits you hard, you might not enjoy your first day as much as you thought you would. Instead of planning to hit the ground running, consider making the first day low-key. Stroll around the city, grab some good food, and simply enjoy being in a new place. The other tourist attractions and activities can wait until you’re more adjusted to the time zone.

 6. Prioritize Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule

Girl With Tea

Image Source: Pexels

Avoiding naps isn’t the only way to make sure you get on a proper sleep schedule again. In order to adjust, you’ll have to force yourself to climb in bed when you’re awake and wake up when you’re sleepy. It’s grueling sometimes, but adapting is key to enjoying the rest of your trip.

One great way to adjust your body with minimal work is to spend time outside. Your body takes cues from natural light, so by being active during the daytime and heading back to your hotel room at night, you’ll automatically feel your body settling into a rhythm after a day or two.

To Sum It All Up

Jet lag can be a real beast, but the key to defeating it is actually just planning. Book flights that leave at good times, prepare for the change in advance and stay hydrated 24/7. Once you’re there, take things easy at first and do everything you can to adjust your body to the new sleep schedule. Before you know it, you’ll feel as comfortable in your vacation destination as you do at home… until you have to repeat the whole process on t