One of the biggest trip killers is dealing with jet lag. Especially if you are traveling overseas across multiple time zones, jet lag can take you completely out of it for days if left untreated.
There are no medications or anything you can take for jet lag, you just have to know exactly how to prepare yourself and what to do before and after you land at your destination to minimize the fatigue affects.
Jet lag is the fatigue that you feel after a long flight across multiple time zones. It can give you headaches, leave you feeling weak, and even make you irritable.
See, traveling over that many time zones completely throws off your circadian rhythms; or internal body clock. It is your internal clock that regulates your daily activities such as sleeping, waking up, and eating. The day and night cycle that you experience every day is the main engine that powers your internal clock.
So when you travel over so many time zones in such a small amount of time, that internal clock is completely thrown off, throwing off your hormone and body temperature regulation in the process. All of these factors bundled up is what leads to that feeling of fatigue.
You will continue to feel the effects of jet lag until your body can adapt to its new environment.
There are many ways to help “cure” jet lag, as well as many ways to help prevent it from affecting you in the first place.
Setting Your Watch. The first thing you can do to combat the effects of jet lag is to set your watch, phone, whatever to the time at your destination. You want to do this after you make it through security at your origin airport.
For example: If I have a 6am flight out of New York heading to London. So in this case, London is 5 hours ahead of New York. So, I would set my watch to 11am instead of 6am.
Doing this allows you to know what time it is at your destination so you know when to eat, when to sleep, etc.
When Do You Land? The second thing you’re going to need to do, is to figure out a plan for your typical daily activities like eating, sleeping, and waking-up. This all starts with knowing when you land. If you land in London at 6am, then you are NOT going to want to sleep once you get there. You are going to land and eat breakfast and keep your body on its normal schedule.
So if that is the case, you’ll have to do everything you can to sleep on the plane. Whether that be taking medicine, staying up all night the night before, or whatever else you want to try. If not, you’re going to have to stay up for another whole day.
Don’t Eat When You Should Be Sleeping. So if you have your watch set to your destination time, and you are already on that schedule, you shouldn’t eat when you should be sleeping.
For example: Even though it’s 5pm in New York, the place you’re flying out of, that doesn’t mean you should eat. Because it is 11pm in London, you probably don’t typically eat at 11pm. You’re going to have to wait until you land at 6am and then eat breakfast.
The whole idea behind these first few tips is to get your body adjusted to the new time zone, before you get to your new time zone.
Stay Awake. So, once you land at your destination, and it’s the middle of the day, you have to do everything you can to stay up until you usually go to bed. So if you land at 4pm in London, but you are dead tired, you should not sleep until late in the evening like you would back home.
If you typically go to bed at 9:30pm, but land in London at 4pm, you have to force yourself to stay up that extra five and a half hours, no matter how tired you are. I promise, even though it very much sucks, it’ll be worth it when you aren’t completely out of it for the entire trip.
Wake Up at Your Normal Time. So you managed to stay up until 9:30pm, and you can finally lay down and get your well-earned sleep. Don’t sleep forever though, set your alarm for when you typically wake up. Whether it be 6am, 7am, 10am, whatever it is, set an alarm so that you don’t sleep longer than that.
The whole point is for your body to stick to the schedule that it’s used to.
So, if you can execute all of these things, then you’ll only experience that jet lag for one day at most, and that’s the day you land. After that initial first night of sleep, you should be good to go, jet lag free! It has worked for me many times when I flew from Germany to the United States multiple times over the last couple years.
With proper planning, you can combat the effects of jet lag and get the most out of your well-earned vacation. Because who wants to spend a few days being completely groggy when you could be spending a few days getting lit on the beach?
No one, that’s who.
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