Jet lag? Never experienced it. I have traveled to different time zones many times, but I really don’t know what jet lag feels like. You may be thinking . . . so, why am I writing about something I have never experienced and what does this topic have to do with living the healthy life? I have a few reasons why, actually:
- I have been with those who have had jet lag and I can see it is not the healthiest way to start your trip!
- Jet lag really cuts into your trip and causes those that have it to lose out on those healthy travel experiences that I wrote about recently.
- I hope I can help those that suffer from it to avoid it completely with my proven method as it works!
- And, here’s a thought — could it be that I have NOT experienced jet lag because I follow a certain routine before I go and when I get there? Are the healthy actions I take, the items I pack, my saving grace? (I admit, I may also have never experienced jet lag because I am always tremendously excited to be where I am going, and my lack of symptoms could be merely an adrenalin rush. But, I am going to stick with my first reasoning – the process and preparations I take before, during and after I get to where I am going.)
Ok. So, enough pontification on me and my lack of jet lag. Come see what I do that may help you avoid jet lag in the first place and start your trip off right – the healthy way!
SYMPTOMS OF JET LAG
- sleepiness during the day
- insomnia at night
- brain fog
- weak appetite
- ravenous in between meals
- general sluggishness
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO AVOID JET LAG
Here are some easy strategies to consider before you leave for your trip. If you are interested, I link to a few products I think can help make your trip much smoother, more enjoyable and that I use myself. I only link to items I find to be of excellent value:
1. Start extra hydration a day or two before you leave.
Air travel is incredibly dehydrating and dehydration always makes you feel more sluggish. Your body will appreciate the extra water levels before the cabin door is closed.
Don’t miss this: Sure, you have heard, water is critical for good health, but you will be surprised water can do all this!
2. A week before departure, start shifting your bedtime and wake-up times.
Move them slightly to get closer to the time zone of where you are traveling. Even a small shift can make it easier to adjust.
3. Plan your flight to arrive in the daylight.
This may work for you because you will psychologically align with the hustle and bustle of where you have arrived and find it easier to get with the flow.
4. Conversely, arrive late at night.
This has worked for me really well as I just went straight to sleep when I arrived. I woke up the next day ready to go fully adjusted to the new time.
5. Catch your zzz’s before you leave.
You may think staying up all night will make you so tired you will fall asleep easily on the plane but you never know who you may be sitting next to, in front of or behind and the disruptions may be great. Best to be fully rested before you embark on your journey.
Don’t miss this: So, exactly how many hours do we need to sleep each night for best health? Hit this link to see what science says.
6. Create a calming playlist to lull you to relax and lull you to sleep.
A playlist of songs that calm you is a great way to block out plane noise or the guy next to you! Check out this app with free mellow sounds to download.
Don’t miss this: Free playlists can be created easily and here is where to go.
7. Purchase a travel “white noise” maker.
I love this tool! The white noise maker I use masks hotel disturbances and creates an even hum that helps quiet my thoughts and block noisy hotel hallways. It is a really great tool for babies and kids, too!
8. Pack a useful carry-on.
Pack your carry on with lip balm, moisturizer, lemon water, a variety of filling and healthy snacks, your iPod (with those calming songs), eye cover, pillow case, etc.
Don’t miss this: I have a complete list of carry-on items that will make your next flight so much more comfortable.
9. Consider Melatonin.
It is a naturally secreted hormone in humans that affects the body’s circadian rhythms. There is some evidence that when administered during the day, melatonin increases the tendency to sleep better at night. Click here for more information, but absolutely consult your doctor first before leaving town and taking it with you.
8 EASY ACTIONS TO TAKE ON THE PLANE TO AVOID JET LAG
Once you board the plane, try these tips for a better arrival:
1. Keep drinking.
Water that is. Yes, try a big glass every 60-90 minutes that you are awake.
2. Skip the booze.
It will only mess up your sleep patterns and make you even more dehydrated causing a headache when you land.
3. Shun caffeine.
Steer away from tea and coffee. Try chamomile tea instead if flying at night.
4. Set your watch.
Find the time where you are going and begin setting your mind and body to that time.
5. Leave the sleeping pills alone.
They’re not worth it. They will do nothing to assist the jet lag and will just leave you feeling groggy when you land.
6. Keep germs at bay.
I wipe down the tray with these wonderful smelling natural antiseptic cleaning wipes and use a pillowcase I throw in my carry-on to cover the pillow they provide to avoid germs from a fellow user. I also pack warm socks and a small blanket or shawl that I bring with me for extra warmth and skip the one the airline provides.
Walk up and down the cabin every hour or so you are awake to keep blood clots from forming and keep your circulation going and swelling down. If it is a long flight, you may want to consider compressions socks like these highly rated ones that can help with potential blood clots issues. They come in all kinds of colors, too.
WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION TO AVOID JET LAG
When you arrive, your jet lag plan is still in full throttle as much of your success avoiding jet lag has to do with how well you sleep once you get there! Follow these tips with that aspect of your arrival in mind.
1. Keep drinking!
More water. Dehydration can set in later and just make you feel awful. Just keep up the healthy habit. Put a big glass by your bed at the hotel or wherever you are staying so you don’t have to go stumbling around in an unfamiliar place in the dark in case you wake up thirsty!
2. Make friends with the front desk.
Ask the hotel for voice mail services if available so that calls will not awake you. And while you are at it, ask for a wake-up call in case you miss your phone alarm, etc. You will not lie awake worrying about it because you have a back-up.
3. Before unpacking, check the room for potential sleep disturbances.
This could include having a room near the elevator or ice room, drapes that do not close properly, previous smoker, etc. Asking to switch rooms before you unpack may be a good idea.
4. Take a walk in the sun.
If it is daylight when you arrive, take a short stroll to see what is around your hotel, get your blood circulating after all that sitting and besides, daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock.
Don’t miss this: Did you know that what you eat can affect your risk for sunburn? It is true. Find out what to chew to protect your skin from the sun here.
5. Keep your first meal light.
Of course, enjoy the cultural cuisines, but don’t eat a rich meal first thing. Your body is adjusting and does not need the extra work of digesting a huge meal.
6. Do not nap.
Really try and get in the swing of the schedule of where you are visiting. Try your best to stay awake to at least to 9 p.m.
7. Keep a low profile.
If possible, keep the first-day mellow to adjust. Go to a park to people watch and have a picnic, eat a light meal at a cafe, stroll the beach, etc.
Following these simple anti-jet lag measures should put you in a great position to feel great with lots of energy making the most of those amazing travel adventures!
FOR EVEN MORE ON THE TOPIC . . .
- Make sure to bring back home these life-changing items from your travels!
- Make those travel wishes a reality with this step-by-step plan to save for your dream trip, design it and enjoy every minute!
What about you? Please add any tips you have in the comments and include any exciting destination, please!