Flying across time zones confuses your body, which can cause insomnia, poor concentration and even digestive problems. While there’s no way to completely beat jet lag, here are several things you can do to ease the discomfort.
- Adjust your internal clock. Several days before departure, start shifting your meal and bed times by an hour a day until they coincide with those at your destination. But take note: If your trip is 48 hours or less, stay on your home time zone schedule, even while you’re away. That will help reduce jet lag when you get back.
- Sleep on the right schedule. Set your watch to the time at your destination as soon as you begin your flight. Then sleep only when it’s nighttime there.
- Hydrate. A dry airplane cabin can lead to dehydration, which worsens the effects of jet lag-related fatigue. Drink water throughout your flight.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee. Alcohol and coffee can cause dehydration during flights, too. Plus, the high altitude can quicken the effect of alcohol and worsen jet lag.
- Be wary of sleeping pills. Taking a sleeping pill can make you feel groggy when you land. Instead, try a cup of chamomile tea to put you to sleep while you’re in the air.
- Get outside. After you arrive, try to stay awake until it’s bedtime in your new time zone. Spend as much time outside as you can. The exposure to fresh air and sunlight will help your brain adjust to the new time zone.
- Go for a brisk walk or do some stretching exercises. Any exertion will help get the blood circulating and ease muscle aches from sitting on an airplane for an extended period.
- Eat light meals. Your body will react to the change in your eating routine. Heavy meals make it more difficult for your body to adjust. Light meals can help you avoid symptoms like indigestion, constipation and diarrhea.
Following these tips can help you avoid the worst effects of jet lag, ensuring you have a more productive and enjoyable trip.