How to Overcome Jet Lag? Top Tips for Beating Time Zone Tiredness
Why do we get jet lag anyway? Is it possible to adjust to the new time zone simpler and faster? Whether you have found a great deal on a cheap holiday to Europe, or you are heading off on a bargain break to visit Canada, jet lag can quickly turn your flight and dream vacation into a one-way ticket to exhaustion. However, there is no need to worry because we can help you! Not only we will answer your questions, but also show you how to beat time zone tiredness effectively.
What Causes Jet Lag?
In order to effectively overcome time zone tiredness, you have to know what causes it. Our bodies have naturally built-in 24-hour clocks that are also known as circadian rhythms. Thanks to circadian rhythms, our body has specific built-in-routines such as eating and sleeping. When we fly and change time zones, our inner body clocks are thrown into disarray which may severely affect the normal functioning of our body. Basically, when our internal body clock is shifted, our body doesn’t know how to act, so we may experience fatigue, indigestion, bowel problems, loss of appetite, memory issues and much more. Sound familiar? These are actually common symptoms of jet lag. However, people can be affected by it differently. Recovery time is also individual, and it depends on your age, health and stress levels. Unfortunately, there is no proven way or cure to avoid jet lag entirely. However, there are certain things you can do to alleviate the symptoms and ensure you overcome it faster. Let’s take a closer look at some tips for effectively beating jet lag.
Prepare at Home before Departing
If you are prone to experiencing jet lag, do your best to get yourself ready for it at home. This is particularly important if you are flying east. Flying west makes your body think the day is getting longer and flying east makes it believe the day is shorter.
So, start by adapting your body’s rhythm a few days before your flight. If you’re going east, go to sleep one or two hours earlier than you usually do. If you are flying west, try staying awake for one or two extra hours. You should also get up earlier or later depending on whether you fly east or west.
Set Your Watch to the New Time Zone
As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to the new time zone to mentally prepare for the new rhythm. It is essential to keep up with your destination’s local time. Do your best to stay awake during the day, and only go to bed when it’s night there.
Adjust Your Sleep-Wake Rhythm
If you are flying east, try to get some sleep on the plane. If you didn’t get enough shut-eye the night before departing, catching some ZZZs on the flight will be much easier. If you are traveling west, you should really try to stay awake. For example, listen to music, read a book or look for an airline that offers quality entertainment program.
Don’t Overeat and Skip Alcohol and Caffeine
Food may also influence your jet lag. Junk food or carbohydrate-rich food will make you feel heavy and tired which will increase your need for sleep, but it may lead to digestion and bowel problems later on. So, it is best to avoid heavy meals and any food that may irritate your stomach.
If a glass of wine or some other alcohol helps you to fall asleep, you should avoid both alcohol and caffeine a day before your departure. Alcohol and caffeine will only dehydrate you and it harder for you to adjust to the new time zone. It is best to drink just water and juice not only until you arrive at the new destination, but also until you have entirely beat your jet lag.
Adjust Yourself to the New Daily Rhythm
The best way to beat time zone tiredness is to get in the rhythm of your destination the second you get off the plane. Although that might be very hard and you feel exhausted, you have to resist the temptation to sleep. Napping will only make your jet lag worse. If you arrive really early, you can sleep for a few hours, but you have to get up in the afternoon. The first day is crucial for adjusting your body and beating jet lag.
Go Out Into the Daylight or Make Things Really Dark
Being outside in the daylight will also help your body to adjust to the new time zone. Sunlight controls the production of melatonin in your body, and melatonin is vital for the proper functioning of your circadian rhythm. So during the day make sure you are exposed to bright sunlight, and when you need to sleep, make sure everything is dark and quiet. Instead of taking sleep pills (they will make things only worse) adjust your sleeping environment and transform it to a sleeping sanctuary.