If you’re a traveller you surely must know what is like to adjust back to your natural bedtime whether you’re returning from a trip or you’re planning to go to the other side of the world. The symptoms of jet lag are all too familiar: disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and functioning, or even stomach problems. Sure, travelling for either work or pleasure can be fun and exciting but what do we do when the body tells us it cannot function properly anymore? Of course, jet lag cannot be eliminated altogether but you can lessen its effects with some simple strategies that can make a big difference and increase the quality of your trip.
First and foremost you have to understand what jet lag really is. It can occur anytime you travel and the more time zones you’ll cross, the more likely you are to be sleepy and sluggish. Webmd.com says that travelling from west to east is generally worse because you’re basically losing time. Also, take into account that for older people, jet leg may hit harder and the recovery may take longer. I’m not going to expand on the biological aspect of this disorder but know that “jet lag happens because rapid travel throws of our circadian rhythm” which is the biological clock that helps control when we wake and fall asleep. Passing different time zones disrupts the circadian rhythm and the internal clock and external time are desynchronized.
A very useful tip that helps with jet lag is to get an overnight flight when possible. You can get some rest during your flight which will help you keep a regular sleep schedule. It is also important to stay hydrated so try to avoid alcohol or caffeine for few hours before you plan to sleep because it may disrupt your sleep and cause severe dehydration. If you are on a work trip, plan ahead to cut yourself some slack upon arrival. For example, have your ride from the airport pre-booked and the itinerary fully set.
Try invigorating with a fresh shower gel or facial rinse. Whether you’re fresh off the plane or it’s the dreaded morning after, small things like this matter and it will make you feel more energized. If you are on a very long flight try to move periodically and do some static exercises because sitting so much doesn’t do anyone any good. Eat fruits and stock up on vitamins! Not only are they good for your immune system but juice carrots, oranges and ginger, for example, will give you an extra boost.
Dress as comfortable as possible and maybe listen to some music to try to relax or start the day pumping up your energy level. And remember, until you’re adjusted to the new time zone make sure you get enough sleep! A half-hour power nap will do wonders for your body. Expose yourself to natural sunlight and fresh air on a regular basis and enjoy tiny breaks. The world won’t stop if you’re pausing for a small snack or small stretch.
Last but not least, slowly get back to your life. Make arrangements with friends because you’ll have something to look forward during the day. Enjoy yourself and be positive and don’t wallow over the lovely holiday you just had. It is a common fact that people tend to get a little depressed when coming back from a holiday, but pondering too much about it will only make it worse. Get on with your life and maybe start planning for your new holiday.