I think we can all agree that when going on vacation and traveling, every moment counts! We want to make the best of our time away, and it’s really hard to do so if you’re combatting the discomfort of jet lag, which often happens if you travel more than two time zones away. Resetting your watch is easy. Resetting your brain and body’s natural time cycle is another story, so here are some tips that I’ve found helpful:
1. Start adjusting before you leave. Try to ease your body into the time change by adjusting your bedtime a couple night prior to your departure even just one hour earlier or later than usual (depending on what direction you are traveling to).
2. Avoid the buzz. Try avoiding alcohol or caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda, energy drinks). I know this is a hard one, but these can be stimulating and only throw off your system even more. My philosophy is that sure, it’s ok to say yes to that glass of champagne they offer you in business/first class or grab a quick Starbucks while waiting for your plane to arrive. After all, you’re on vacation so you want to enjoy yourself. BUT have a much smaller serving than usual and basically keep it to a minimum. Also, stay hydrated as this can also help to combat jet lag symptoms.
3. Set your clock. Once en-route, change your watch to the time of your destination. This is probably more psychological, but it can help you feel more in-sync when you land.
4. Rest up on the plane. Once you’ve settled into your plane seat and the exciting thought that you’re officially on vacation sinks in, it’s time to relax! The in-flight entertainment system is great if you allow it to help you fall asleep. Don’t force yourself to stay up to watch another blockbuster film. Eye masks, ear plugs, blankets, and neck pillows are good tools to help prevent distractions that can disrupt your rest. Also, wearing comfy clothing is another great way to help trick your body that it’s bedtime.
5. Get up and get going! Over the past few years, I have found this to be the KEY in offsetting jet lag. On arrival, stay up until the local bedtime. It’s important to keep yourself moving and awake throughout the day to allow your body to adjust. It’s another good reason to get out and explore your destination.