Tips for Beating Jet Lag

Tips for Beating Jet Lag

If you have ever traveled across multiple time zones, and were greeted on the other end with headaches, lack of sleep, or irritability, then you have probably experienced the phenomenon called jet lag. If you do not get a handle on your jet lag at the beginning of your trip, your vacation memories can end up being tainted by unpleasant feelings of exhaustion. So what is the best way for a world traveler to prevent those sleepless nights from ruining their next trip? Check out these tips on how to prevent jet lag on your next adventure!

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag occurs when you travel to places with an extreme time change over a short period of time. Changing time zones can wreak havoc on your internal clock making it impossible to get into a normal sleep routine. Your body gets confused by the changes in meal times, light exposure, and work schedule. It then tries to hold onto your normal schedule even if it doesn’t align with the local time. This can leave a traveler feeling drowsy and can even cause physical ramifications such as migraines and upset stomachs. Although there is no right way to avoid jet lag completely, there are lots of ways to alleviate and prevent some of the uncomfortable symptoms.

Jet Lag Tips

Alter Your Schedule

The best way to not cause a shock to your system when changing time zones is to start adjusting slowly, before the beginning of the trip. It is best to gradually move meal and bed times closer to the time zone you’ll be in for a week leading up to the trip.

If you are traveling east, then go to bed fifteen minutes earlier each night leading up to your trip. If you are traveling west, do the reverse, and go to sleep fifteen minutes later each day to adjust yourself to the time zone you desire.

Once on the plane, try to sleep when it is night time in your destination, and stay awake when it is light out there. This will help to advance your internal body clock before your trip, and makes it less challenging for your mind to adjust.

Stay Hydrated

When you fly in an airplane, you are sitting in a low humidity environment with reduced oxygen content. In fact, many planes’ humidity levels hover around 10-15%, making it three times drier than the Sahara desert!

Because of this, in a six hour flight, a passenger could lose up to 2% of the water content in their body. This kind of decrease can severely impact your mood, ability to fight off infection, and makes symptoms of jet lag much worse.

To avoid getting too dehydrated, skip the airplane booze or coffee that can cause further dehydration. Bring your own canteen and fill it up after you get through airport security. This way, you are not relying solely on the small cups that are passed around during the flight.

Natural Supplements

Although you cannot fully cure jet lag, taking natural supplements have been shown to help reduce symptoms and help travelers recover more quickly. Taking melatonin is one of your best options for resetting your biological clock.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally occurring in the body and regulates the cycle of sleeping and waking. These supplements have been extensively studied and is a very common tactic for dealing with jet lag symptoms. Take Melatonin 30 minutes prior to when you plan on sleeping to help promote a restful night’s sleep while on your trip.

Try these tricks next time you’re traveling to help you have a more seamless transition on your next trip!

Thanks to Stephanie James for this guest post

Stephanie James is freelance writer and travel enthusiast. As someone who spends more time in a plane than in a car, she has mastered the art of sleep & comfort from any time zone! In addition to answering the questions of travelers, she covers all things wellness and fitness. 

Follow & keep up with Stephanie on Twitter