You’ve just flown to your dream destination. As you step off the plane, you’re ready to hit the ground running — but your body has other plans and all it wants to do is crawl into bed. Changing time zones can wreak havoc on a sleep schedule, and jet lag can ruin even the most carefully planned vacation. Thankfully, it’s possible to confront this problem if you plan ahead.
By controlling your exposure to light in the days leading up to your trip, you can manipulate your internal clock to align with your destination more closely. If you’re traveling east, you will lose time, so try immersing yourself in darkness and going to bed earlier. If traveling west, expose yourself to light and stay up later to prepare for a more extended day.
Sleep on the Plane
Sleeping on the plane is a great way to combat jet lag. Schedule your flight to arrive in the morning, allowing you to sleep on your way to your destination. Waking up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day in a new place is worth the early start.
Avoid Lengthy Layovers
Long layovers in a different time zone can further reduce your circadian rhythm. While it’s not always possible to avoid layovers, try to minimize how much time you spend waiting for your next flight.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Alcohol is dehydrating and can leave you feeling worse for wear when you land, especially when it’s paired with the low humidity of an airplane cabin. Caffeine, such as soda, coffee, and tea, poses similar problems and can further complicate your sleep schedule.
Schedule Your Meals
A few days before your trip, start eating your meals of the day around the same time you will be doing so in your new location. This helps your body adapt to your upcoming schedule, ensuring that you’ll feel hungry at the appropriate times when you finally arrive at your destination.
While you may be tempted to take a quick rest during the day, naps may make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Stay awake during daylight hours while on vacation to quickly adjust to the new time zone.
Download an App
Developing a plan to fight jet lag is easier than ever with helpful apps like Timeshifter. This app creates an easy-to-follow schedule to help lessen the potential effects of jet lag. Other apps offer similar benefits, including meditation and yoga routines to help you relax while on the go.
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