How to reduce Jet Lag? That is a common question among frequent travelers.
The human body was not built for fast, long-distance travel – certainly not for the speed at which you can fly across half of the world today.
One of the ways your body tells you that traveling this far at this speed is something it doesn’t like is jet lag – the complex of unpleasant symptoms you experience after a long-haul flight due East or West.
That’s why we compiled a short list of a few science-backed tips to avoid jet lag or perhaps reduce its effects.
Prepare for your trip
A few days (at least four) before you leave, start to adjust your body to the conditions of your destination. After all, you want to be healthy and with energy all the time, right?
Shift your sleep schedule to be as close to that of your destination as possible, and adopt a more relaxed routine so your body won’t expect to be fed and to relieve itself at fixed times (these routines are pretty hard to break).
Once there, this will make it easier for you to adapt to the local schedule.
Choose the right flight
Arriving at your destination at the right time will help you adjust to its schedule easier. If you travel East, you will jump ahead in time, and if you travel West, you’ll jump back.
If you leave New York for Athens at 7 AM, for example, you’ll fly for around nine hours, and arrive at your destination at around 11 PM local time – but your body will feel like it’s early in the afternoon.
The further East you go, the bigger the difference between your body’s clock and the actual time will be, making it harder for you to adjust.
Choosing the right time to leave is crucial in reducing the effects of jet lag. Arriving in the morning (if you travel West) and not sleeping until sundown or arriving at night (if you travel East) and going to sleep as soon as you arrive will help your body pick up the pace faster.
This device can help you sleep better, by the way.
Stay away from coffee, alcohol, and drugs
Long-haul flights are bad enough – and coffee, alcohol, and sleeping pills can only make it worse.
Using these while you fly will make you dehydrated and drowsy – and they won’t make getting rid of jet lag any easier.
Instead, make sure to stay hydrated and only sleep when you need to.
The Sun is your friend
Last but not least, let’s not forget the role of melatonin (the so-called “sleep hormone”) in regulating your sleep schedule.
The production of melatonin is lower when you are exposed to sunlight, making it easier for you to stay awake, and higher when it’s dark, telling your body that it’s time to sleep.
So, to make it easier for your body to adjust to the local time when you arrive, try to spend as much time outside as possible (even if you take a nap, make it short) and going to bed at a normal time.
Do this for a couple of days to help your body adapt and reduce the effects jet lag has on you. It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms, of course.
Do you have your own tips to reduce jet lag?