Whether you’re a regular traveler or a first timer, traveling long distances has probably affected your mood at health at some point. Adjusting to different time zones adds a huge toll on your body’s internal clock. Light is the main regulator of your internal clock, so a sudden shift in the sun and light’s schedule can leave you feeling subpar, sleepy and just completely out of it. So, how can you avoid jetlag or at least minimize the side effects?
Consider You Sleep Schedule on the Journey
Forward planning is the first and most important thing you need to do when looking to combat jetlag. The timing of your flight has a huge effect on how you will feel once you land, if you are taking a night flight it’s important to skip the in-flight entertainment and catch a solid sleep throughout the night. Eye masks, ear plugs, and neck pillows are all excellent accessories to complement sleeping on a flight. If however the majority of your journey will be throughout the day you should avoid snoozing on the plane and stay awake in order not to confuse your body with long mid-day naps.
Once you reach your destination, be sure to spend a lot of time outside. This will help your body adjust to the new light schedule and reset your internal clock to complement your new surroundings. Most people get jetlag when returning home, so fight the urge to hide away in your bed in a darkened room. Allow sunlight into your house and definitely get outside even if you’re feeling a bit fatigued.
If you have any specific rituals or routines that you are used to doing before heading to bed at home, be sure to keep said routines up on your trip away. Whether it’s having a bath, drinking a cup of camomile tea, or reading a chapter off a book before nodding off for the night; try to have a consistent routine that you can follow at home and away from home. This will help your body switch more easily into sleep mode and avoid you tossing and turning in bed at 3am.
Jet lag in itself can cause headaches, but if you are not eating and drinking correctly dehydration will worsen its effects. Stock up on hydrating foods. Cherries, bananas, and fresh ginger are also naturally rich in melatonin, a hormone which helps reset your body’s internal clock to keep jetlag from taking over.
How do you deal with traveling between different time zones? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below!