I have a fierce vendetta against jet lag. I firmly believe one does not need to suffer badly.
Usually I only travel from the east coast to the west coast of the United States. My first time back from California was really rough. I remember falling asleep on my couch and passing out for an entire afternoon.
When I went to Scotland in August, I knew I had to hit the ground running in order to get ready to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I made it my mission to research the best ways to avoid jet lag and what actions a person can take to prevent it. I dont know which of these methods actually work so I'm going to share them all. I'm sure with more travel I will try things and figure out a more streamlined process.
But for now this is what I got!
1. Start drinking green juice 3-4 days before your flight. The extra nutrients from the veggies really help support my immune system. It also makes me feel naturally more awake and alert.
I also read you should start going to bed earlier to get closer to the time zone you will be in. I found this really hard in practice, but if you can do it more power to you.
2. Really hydrate. I mean, really, really hydrate. Most of us think we are drinking enough water but the air on a plane is really drying. It will make you feel more tired and worn down. Also, you won't have that many opportunities to get water on the plane other than the little bottles of water they handout. But it's never enough.
Water keeps your cells fresh and your brain clear. What could be more useful than a clear brain when you are traveling?!! Hydrate before your flight and after you land. I always feel like I am drinking water constantly when I land, but it really does help.
3. Skip the caffeine and alcohol. Before my trip I try to scale back on my caffeine intake. Caffeine is also dehydrating and it revs up our system. (That's why we love it, right?!) We want our body to function on a normal level, and extra caffeine gets in my way. I still have a cup of coffee in the morning, maybe a cup of tea in the afternoon. Granted, I am a coffee lover so this is a decrease for me!
l also scale back on alcohol. Alcohol can make my stomach feel uneasy as it processes. It is like my system has to work harder to process the alcohol, and I don't want it to have to do that while I'm in the air. Alcohol also makes me feel dehydrated (see above!).
Skippinng coffee and alcohol will also help you get some sleep on the plane. This can't always be helped since it is an unusual place to be restin, but try to get as many Zzz's on the pane as possible!
4. Once I land, I try to get on the local eating schedule immediately. This helps my body adjust to the new time zone.
I recently traveled from Washington D.C. to Munich, Germany. The flight was left at 5:30pm and arrived 7:30 AM local time. Munich is 6 hours ahead, so hen I landed it was actually 1:30 AM back home. Regardless, I made sure to eat something for breakfast. Even though it was just yogurt and fruit, it was a step towards adjusting my body.
5. No nap! Get your body moving instead! More than anything, I wanted a nap around 1:00 PM.I almost fell asleep on the subway, actually. Luckily, I scheduled a walking tour of Munich. I used to think walking tours were for the weak, the people that didnt rproperly do their research.
I have since changed my mind. Walking tours (especially the free ones) are the best way to get to know the area. And it kept me moving and active and engaged. Walking around helped me get my bearings in a new city, and it helped me plan what I would do while I visited.
Taking a nap will only extend your jet lag by confusing your body about when the proper time to go to sleep really is. Feel free to go to bed earlier than normal on your first night. More than likely you will sleep a few extra hours to make up for those you lost. I slept for almost 12 hours when I finally went to sleep in Munich.
6. Bonus tip: Fiber. I swear by fiber when I arrive. Maybe it's because traveling makes me feel stopped up and fiber helps keep things moving. I alway take advantage of fruits and vegetables I find (usually at a market) because I don't know about you but I often end up eating sandwiches when I'm in a new place. Eating lots of fiber keeps me feeling better all around.
What are your tips and tricks for beating jet lag when you travel? Let me know.