Design Your Life
How To Prevent Jet Lag: A Guide
By Bianca Lambert
Flying to a different timezone can throw even the most seasoned traveler off balance. Since our body has an internal clock, traveling across time zones will likely disrupt not only your sleeping habits but can cause indigestion, daytime fatigue, and make it difficult to concentrate.
If you’re traveling from east to west the effects will wear on your body more than going from west to east, because flying west adds hours to the day. If you prepare in advance, you might be able to ward off the symptoms with a few changes to how you take on long-haul travel.
Rest Before You Fly
Starting a trip out with no sleep isn’t going to set you up to adjust to your new timezone very well. Traveling can be stressful, but try to map out time to pack and organize your life a day or two ahead of your flight, so you can get a full nights rest the night before.
Adjust Your Sleeping Schedule Before Your Depart
If you’re heading east, try getting to sleep an hour (or two) earlier every night four to five days before your flight. If you’re traveling west, go to bed an hour (or two) later.
Get There A Couple Of Days Early
If you’re taking a flight into a different time zone for a special event or important work function, schedule your trip a couple of days ahead of your event. This will not only give your body time to adjust to a new sleeping schedule, but you’ll have a chance to ground yourself in your home away from home.
Book A Daytime Itinerary
If you can, try to arrive at your destination during their daytime and stay awake until it’s time for bed in that timezone. Your body may be craving a nap, but don’t give in — it will thank you later.
Nap On The Plane
Napping on the plane can be a challenge. We’ve all seen or been that person bobbing their head up and down on the flight, falling in and out of sleep. Bring a neck pillow, headphones, and an eye mask to set yourself up for a nice nap.
Skip The Alcohol and Caffeine
Dehydration is known for making jet lag symptoms worse. So, do yourself a favor and skip the in-flight coffee and alcohol. Make water your drink of choice before, during, and after your flight to ensure your body stays hydrated.
Traveling can be tough on your body, so make sure you’re eating well, getting fresh air, and exercising (taking a walk counts). Fueling your body with good food and daylight are excellent ways to say farewell to jet lag.