Did you know that 93% of travelers will experience jet lag at some point?
Traveling is a luxury that only a few people had access to during the height of the global health crisis. However, as restrictions are easing up, more people get to travel abroad for official business or work-related purposes. When this happens, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience a lot of jet lag.
This can impede your productivity and performance by being a key factor in sleep deprivation. You’re going to need some good travel tips if you want to prevent this from happening to you.
Take a look at what’s below to know what you can do to beat jet lag. Give yourself a good rest while you’re traveling abroad.
- Adjust Your Exposure to Light
Light is a big factor in our circadian rhythm. This is what dictates when our body should feel sleepy or when it should be active and full of energy. You can trick this psychological effect by adjusting your exposure to light as needed.
How you adjust it will depend on where you’re going. If you’re headed east from where you are, you should expect less sunlight. This means that you should avoid light more than you should to adjust your body.
If you travel west, it lengthens the day, giving you more exposure to sunlight. In this case, it’s best to expose yourself to more sunlight to keep your body in sync with the new area.
You can also consider stepping outside whenever a new day dawns where you are. Get as much sunlight as you can before heading back into your accommodation. Doing this lets your body know that the day started, causing your circadian rhythm to adjust.
- Set Your Alarms and Watches to the New Time Zones
A good way for you to beat jet lag is by adjusting your body to the new time zone. This way, you won’t feel any major change when you arrive at your destination. Your body would have already adjusted well before you even took your trip.
Do this by setting your alarms and watches to the time zone you’re visiting. A quick Google search should tell you the time difference you have between your country and your destination. Set your devices to the new time zone and work with that as your guide.
You should also consider eating your meals in accordance with the new time zone. This will help your body adjust even further and make it easier for you to avoid jet lag. This way, you’ll also feel hungry at the appropriate times during your trip.
Doing this is also important because simple things like when you’re hungry will have an impact on whether you feel sleepy or not. Hunger can keep you awake and mess up your circadian rhythm all over again.
- Get a Good Flight Schedule
When your flight will arrive will also have an impact on how bad you experience jet lag. Most people think arriving at night will help with adjusting their circadian rhythms. This may work, but it won’t help your problem if you’re planning on staying long.
Arriving during the morning is a great way to keep yourself active as you touch down. This will make you more tempted to go out and do more in the morning. This way, you’ll feel more tired as night time approaches.
It’s a great way to get you started in the new time zone. You’ll fall asleep when you should and wake up at the appropriate times, too. You’ll find it easier to adjust your sleep cycle when you do this.
- Avoid Sleeping On the Flight
A common mistake that people make when going on a trip abroad is going to sleep. They think that it will help them beat jet lag since they’ll get all the sleep they need on the plane. This way, they’re more active when they arrive.
How effective this is will depend on a lot of factors. It will work well if you plan your flight schedule well, as mentioned above. If arriving in the morning, you’ll have no problem sleeping as it energizes you for the day ahead.
Arriving at night will have the opposite effect. It will mean that you’ve only given in to your prior sleep cycle. This makes it harder for you to adjust to your new area upon arrival.
Some people even take sleeping pills to help them through the flight. This will only be effective and appropriate depending on the length of your flight.
If you expect to fly for 8-10 hours, taking sleeping pills shouldn’t be a problem. It will help you pass the time and will also be great at helping your body adjust if you’ve planned your trip accordingly beforehand.
If you’re flying for less, though, it can be detrimental for you. You will still be under their effects during the initial hours of your arrival. This will cause you to sleep as soon as you arrive, ruining your circadian rhythm for the first day, or make you even less productive upon arrival, which is a big problem for you along the line.
- Keep Yourself Active During Your Trip
If you weren’t able to get a good schedule, you’ll likely arrive at night. This can be an inconvenient time for your circadian rhythm. This is because you often won’t enough time to make yourself feel sleepy upon arrival.
If you want to help yourself in preventing sleeping problems, it’s best you keep yourself active during your trip. You can do this by stimulating your mind while on the plane. It’s the best way to make you feel awake and prevent sleepiness during the flight.
You should also keep yourself moving to keep the blood flowing. This will prevent it from pooling in your liver or in any part of your body. It’s a primary reason for people to feel tired on a flight.
Wearing flight socks is a good way to do this. They apply pressure on your legs, preventing blood from pooling there. It improves blood circulation, and will also keep you awake.
- Get Yourself Some Melatonin
Melatonin is also known as the sleep hormone. Having more of this in your body is a great way to help you sleep at appropriate times. What’s great is that you can find melatonin to be common in sleep vitamins.
You will feel the difference when taking melatonin before trying to fall asleep. It’s an easy way for you to adjust your sleep schedule before departure or upon arrival. It will improve sleep quality and have you more productive and feeling better when you wake up.
- Drink Lots of Water
Most people aren’t aware that dehydration is a big part of jet lag. This often starts when the cabin in your plane gets pressurized. This causes people to lose more moisture through their breathing.
This increases the sodium content in your body and also inhibits melatonin production. This will have you feeling fatigued, but unable to sleep. Drinking a lot of water during your trip is a great way to offset this.
- Limit Certain Things in Your Diet
If you want to sleep well, it’s best that you avoid having certain things in your diet. This is especially the case for sugar as it causes your body to produce more insulin. This hormone functions opposite to melatonin in that it messes up your sleep cycle.
This is because glucose causes our cells to work overtime to burn the extra fuel it’s getting. It prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep because we’ll feel more active during the night.
The same goes for caffeine. Stimulants like caffeine affect our ability to sleep when we want to sleep. They cause our circadian rhythm to take longer to adjust to the new time zone.
- Take a Nap Upon Arrival
What’s important is that you keep yourself from feeling too tired to combat jet lag. Tiredness will lead to fatigue, which can cause quite the stir in your circadian rhythm. Taking a nap will help you combat this as it will increase energy reserves in your body.
This way, you’ll have more energy to use going around in your destination. You’ll be able to do what you need to do without looking, acting, and feeling like a zombie.
- Take a Shower In Your Accommodation
Do you need to sleep, but your body won’t let you? A simple way to trick your body into sleeping and fixing your sleep cycle is by taking a warm shower. Doing this will lower your core body temperature as you exit the shower.
This way, you will have an easier and more relaxed time when you try to sleep. If you want to keep yourself awake, you can take a cold shower, instead.
Doing this triggers a hormonal response in your body. This is similar to the one you get when waking up after sleeping. It’s a great way to get yourself back on track with your sleep schedule.
Beat Jet Lag With These Travel Tips
You need not worry much when you’re traveling abroad. These travel tips will save you from the effects of jet lag so you can have a productive trip. Book a flight and give yourself a good night’s sleep when you land now!
Do you want to learn more tips for traveling? Check out more of our guides to learn all you can today!