Hopping on a plane soon? While the trip can feel like a fun adventure, dealing with jet lag isn’t. Nobody wants to get off a plane and feel completely disoriented, right?
Jet lag occurs because of the shift in time zones. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm is no longer in sync.
Fortunately, we’ve got a few effective travel tips right here to help you avoid exhaustion and fight jet lag each time you fly. Read our guide here to learn more:
1. Prepare Before You Go
Learn how to travel and avoid jet lag with a little pre-flight preparation. Get enough sleep, eat well, and stay hydrated. This ensures you aren’t already exhausted when you get on your flight.
Are you going on a long flight? Bring a pillow and blanket. If it’s a short flight, pack a book or movie saved on your phone.
2. When Traveling On a Plane
Check what time you’ll arrive at your destination. If you’ll get there in the morning, try to sleep while traveling on a plane. This ensures you’ll be up during the daytime.
If you’ll arrive at night, keep yourself busy on the plane. Watch a movie, read a book, or try to get some work done. When you arrive and it’s night, you’ll feel exhausted enough to fall asleep at the right time and wake up in the morning.
Be careful with your meals on a plane too. Eating a heavy meal could make you feel sleepy, especially since you’re stuck on an airplane seat with no physical activity to do.
3. Monitor the Time
A good trick in avoiding jet lag is to watch the time.
Grab your phone and download an app that lets you check the time in multiple time zones. Make sure to add the time of your destination. Halfway through the flight, switch your regular time to the time of your destination.
This helps your mind prepare for the upcoming change. When you know it’ll be nighttime when you arrive, you’ll be able to schedule when to rest during your flight and how long to keep yourself up.
4. Manage Your Light Exposure
Light is one of the major causes of jet lag. It’s a prominent factor in dictating your circadian rhythm. The body naturally tends to seek sleep during the night and you’ll wake up once there’s sunlight.
If you can control the light exposure during your trip, you’ll be able to fight jet lag. If you’ll arrive at night, keep your plane window open and get as much sunlight as possible. If you’ll arrive during the morning, block out sunlight by closing the windowpane or by wearing a sleeping mask.
Do the same upon arrival. Control how much sunlight enters your hotel room to help you either stay awake or fall asleep.
5. Comfortable Sleep
Comfort is going to be a struggle when traveling. It’s important to start understanding how beating jet lag isn’t about getting enough sleep when you land. It’s about sleeping at the right time and resetting your circadian rhythm.
Can’t sleep at night in your new environment despite your best efforts? Make sure you have the right mattress and comfortable pillows. Sometimes, all it takes is to focus on self-indulgence and comfort to get things back in sync.
6. Take Melatonin
Understanding how to avoid jet lag isn’t always simple. You might have no choice but to deal with multiple layovers and a bunch of inconvenient time zones. One solution for this is to take melatonin.
It’s a chemical naturally produced by the brain and it helps you fall asleep. When you know there are too many factors working against you, fight jet lag by taking a pill and getting some sleep. It might not work for everybody but it could be the solution you need to reset your sleeping pattern.
7. Plan Your Arrival
You can avoid jet lag a bit by planning the time of your arrival. If you plan to sleep during the flight, make sure the plane lands in the morning. You’ll get there right as you open your eyes and you’ll feel ready for the day ahead.
If you plan on staying up or if it’s a short flight, then schedule a flight that touches down in the evening. By the time you arrive, you’ll feel tired enough to go to bed.
Are you going on a long flight, like from Chicago to Tokyo? That will take approximately over ten hours. You could spend the majority of the flight awake or asleep so schedule your flight accordingly.
8. Stick With Water
Jet lag leads to a feeling of extreme fatigue. Try to reduce these problems by staying hydrated. Water will help you fight exhaustion and will prevent you from drinking caffeine or alcohol.
Yes, you’ll want to avoid those two. Both are diuretics, meaning you’ll spend too much time in the bathroom. At the same time, the headache that comes from drinking caffeine and alcohol will only worsen the effects of jet lag.
9. Daylight? Stay Outside
If it’s daytime when you arrive, don’t coop yourself inside the hotel room. Go outside, even when you feel exhausted and sleepy. Bask in the sunlight and get busy.
When you get back indoors, make sure it’s a little past dinner. This guarantees you’ll fall asleep at night and get back into a regular circadian rhythm aligned with the new time zone.
Follow These Travel Tips to Beat Jet Lag
Beating jet lag isn’t too difficult if you follow these simple but effective travel tips. Stay hydrated, plan your time of arrival, adjust your flight activities according to this schedule, and manage light exposure. With careful planning, you won’t have to worry much about breaking your circadian rhythm.
Of course, jet lag isn’t the only problem to deal with when traveling. The good news is we’ve got more content to help you out. Feel free to explore our other guides today to learn how to get the best flights, hotels, and more.