High-speed airliners allow people to travel halfway across the world in a matter of hours, enabling everything from dream vacations and romantic honeymoons to business trips and international diplomacy.
The ability to reach virtually any place in the world in less than a day is one of the marvels of modern life, but even that is not enough to overcome the realities of human biology.
If you have ever traveled by plane, you are probably familiar with the uneasy feeling that befalls you when you reach your destination. Instead of reveling in the beauty of a new culture, you feel tired, groggy, and irritable, not exactly a great way to start a vacation. So, if you want your next trip to be more fun, taking a proactive approach to preventing jet lag is always a good idea, and here are 10 ways to make it happen.
1. Adjust your schedule slowly in the lead-up to the trip. Slowly adjusting your body clock to the time at your chosen destination can help a lot, sharply reducing jet lag when you arrive. If you have a hard time falling asleep, there are foods that help you to sleep you can eat before bed to make falling asleep easier.
2. Try to sleep on the plane if you arrive at your destination late at night. It is not always easy to sleep onboard, but catching a few zzz's on the plane can reduce any jet lag you feel.
3. Arrive early if you can. If you want to reduce jet lag, try to arrive early at your chosen destination. This could mean adjusting your flight schedule, but it will be worth it.
4. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is always important, but it is even more critical if you want to avoid jet lag. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine and other substances that could leave you dehydrated.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Travel food is not always healthy, and that can make jet lag worse, so try to make up for that lack of nutrition in the days and weeks leading up to your trip.
6. Consider taking melatonin supplements. They may not be the magic bullet, but supplements containing melatonin can be valuable for reducing jet lag symptoms. Many frequent flyers swear by melatonin supplements, so pack them in your carry-on bag.
7. Choose your in-flight drinks wisely. Certain drinks, including caffeinated beverages like coffee and cola, can increase jet lag, so stick to juice and water on board the plane. Alcoholic beverages may feel like they’ll put you to sleep, but in fact the quality of sleep is worse and can have the same impact on jet lag as caffeinated drinks, and are best avoided as well.
8. Get outside right away if you arrive during daylight hours. Going outside and enjoying the sunshine will help you fight fatigue and give your body time to adjust to the new time zone.
9. Try not to nap during the first few days of your trip. You might be tempted to enjoy a nap, but short-duration sleep can actually make your jet lag worse.
10. Encourage deep healthy sleep with some sensory deprivation. A great way to do this is with a pillow you just sink into, like the Sleepgram pillow. Sleeping in an unfamiliar hotel room is not always easy, but insomnia will make your jet lag worse. Many frequent travelers find that packing a sleep mask and a pair of earplugs encourages healthier sleep, and you can benefit from their experience.
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you do not want to lose any of your precious time, or your even more precious well-being, to jet lag. You may not be able to change your basic biology, but you can make a few adjustments to the way you sleep, the way you work, and the way you interact with the world, all in an attempt to stave off the jet lag that might otherwise make your next trip less pleasant. The 10 tips listed above can help you avoid jet lag, so you can enjoy a stress-free vacation or business trip.