With travel season well underway for vacationers and corporate travelers, jet lag is a common problem for anyone traveling considerable distances. Traveling to vacations, conferences and meetings can take its toll on your energy and your body. Learn how to battle jet lag and arrive refreshed after your flight!
Get Some Sleep
A few days prior to your trip, begin to adjust your bedtime (an hour a day) in order to more closely match your sleep schedule at your destination. This is especially important if you are traveling west to east, as you will be losing time. Do whatever you can to ensure restful sleep during the nights leading up to your trip.
Take Care of Yourself
In addition to getting good sleep during the days leading up to your trip, you should also be eating well, exercising, and managing your stress level. All of these behaviors promote more effective circulation. Eating well and exercising will help regulate your body and keep you healthy, strong and well adjusted.
Many experts believe that dehydration, due to the extremely low humidity levels (2 to 3 percent) on airplanes, is one of the leading causes of jet lag. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. In addition, try to avoid drinking alcohol or anything with caffeine, as both will only increase dehydration during longer flights.
Relax on the Plane
Once your airplane reaches cruising altitude, head to the restroom if you need to. Then head back to your seat, remove or loosen your shoes, and settle in. Also, reset your watch to match the time at your destination. From this point forward do the best you can to adapt to your new time zone. If it’s daytime there, stay awake and if it’s nighttime, try to sleep. If you are someone who has trouble sleeping on planes, the purchase of a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs or noise-canceling earphones are worthy investments. Wearing comfortable, non-restrictive clothing will also help you to relax and feel more at ease.
Digestion is a big issue when it comes to jet lag, so help out your system and eat lightly. One trick is to call the airline prior to arriving at the airport and order one of their specialty meals, such as a vegetarian or diet plate. Besides, who wants to fill up on airplane food when there’s probably great food to be found at your destination?
Exercise on the Airplane
That’s right, you need to exercise on the plane in order promote good circulation. Stretching your back, arms and legs, as well as walking up and down the aisles a few times are good places to start. Take a couple trips down the aisle to the restroom. Squeezing a rubber ball will help the circulation in your arms and hands. While sitting in your chair, raising your knee and flexing your foot will do the same for your lower appendages.
Adapt on Arrival
The sooner you adapt to your new schedule, the better off you will be. From eating and sleeping to exercise and relaxation, do it at the appropriate times at your destination. If a nap is needed, keep it to less than 45 minutes, as anything longer will affect your nighttime sleep. Expose yourself to 15 minutes of sunlight (without sunglasses) as soon as possible upon arrival. The effect of sunlight on our circadian rhythms is dramatic. Going without it for a prolonged period of time while on the plane is bad enough, so make it a priority as soon as you arrive.