Jet lag can be a terrible thing and really impact how you feel and take a lot out of you for a number of days or even weeks in the worst cases. Here’s how to overcome it asap.
1. Get prepared at home before you leave
If you are aware that you have a tendency to experience jet lag, you should prepare yourself at home before getting on an airplane. Fist, you should know that you’ll get a worse case of jet lag when you are flying east compared to flying west. That is because when you fly west it causes your body to believe your day is growing longer. Whereas when you go east it makes your body think your day is growing shorter.
So the best thing to do is adapt the rhythm of your body a couple of days before you leave. When flying east, try going to bed a few hours earlier than you usually do. If you will be flying west try staying awake one to two more hours. You should also get up earlier, or get up later, respectively.
Pay attention when you book your flight: if you arrive during the morning it has a tendency to cause greater problems with fatigue given that the day drags on longer. By contrast, when you arrive in the afternoon or at night that is much better since you only will need to stay awake for a couple of hours before going to sleep. Ideally, you’d do so on a quality mattress that helps you relax such as the Walmart mattress!
2. Adjust your watch to your new time zone
Transitioning to your new time zone should start on the plane. This way you’ll be mentally prepared for a new rhythm. After you are on the plane, adjust your watch to the local time of your destination and stay awake if it is daytime there still. Even if there’s still daylight at your destination, you may have a hard time staying awake on the plane since usually, they dim the lights. However, that can be advantageous for you if it is nighttime at your destination. That will allow you to sleep on the plane on your way there.
3. Adjust your sleep-wake rhythm
It is particularly useful to make adaptations to your body’s rhythm in terms of the times that you wake up and fall asleep in your new location. For example, if you are going to fly east you should sleep while you are on the plane. Get some comfortable clothes, choose an extra inflatable cushion and put some earplugs in to avoid surrounding noise disturbing you. If you don’t get a lot of sleep on the night before you leave then that can help you as well since you most likely will be more tired and fall asleep more easily on the plane.
Tip: After boarding, look around and ask your stewardess or steward if there are any free rows of seats left. In case the plane is not full that might often be the case. If you can find a free row you can lie completely horizontal which will make it easier for you to get a couple hours of sleep. Here’s more info on how to get the best seat on the plane.
If you are traveling west, then you should try to stay awake. Look for an airline that offers a good entertainment program such as Emirates. Having the latest TV series and movies to watch will definitely help you stay awake! Another alternative is to stay productive and work on your projects during the flight.
4. Don’t eat too much food during the flight
Have you considered the fact that airplane food influences your jet lag experience? This often happens. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can make you feel quite tired and heavy. Pasta, potatoes, rice, and also burgers during a layover will increase how much you need to sleep. When you are flying east eating less food can be very helpful to get over jet lag.
However, if you are headed west, choose more protein-rich, lighter foods to stay awake. Eggs, fish, or meat are filling but won’t make you feel too full, so that the energy can be used by your body to help stay awake.
5. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine & alcohol!
Usually, the air inside of airplanes is very dry and you will notice that your skin dries up because the body is getting dehydrated. You should drink a glass of water every so often to stay hydrated. This is why you should avoid alcohol during your flight. For example, you may find that drinking a glass of wine can help you fall asleep – and although that is true – its effects are brief. Actually, it dehydrates you and will make it more difficult to adjust later on to your new time zone. Also, black teas and coffee are not beverages that you should drink while on a flight for this same reason. The best options are to drink water or juice.