LEAVE JET LAG BEHIND

Changing time zones can throw off our sleep cycle. Be prepared and you won’t miss a beat upon arrival.

Some of us do it for pleasure. Others do it for work. Just look up into the sky. We’re a nation of travelers. Unfortunately, while our minds comprehend all that time zone criss-crossing, our bodies are left in the dark.

Jet lag. That evil combination of being sleepy during the day and wide-awake in the middle of the night. It’s not just annoying. It can leave you unfocused and fatigued. Whether on a business trip or vacation, your travel plans shouldn’t be dictated by your biological clock.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your body catch up with what the plane left behind.

Adjust ahead of time. If you’re far-away stay is going to last more than a few days, start regulating your body to the new time zone well before you leave. In the weeks before departure, slowly set your daily routine back or forward to simulate the schedule of your destination. You’d be surprised how easing into a new time zone saves your body the shock of adjusting all at once.

Trade in alcohol and caffeine for a bottle of water. Drink plenty of water, especially during the flight, to counteract the effects of the dry atmosphere inside the plane. Take your own bottle aboard the plane and you’re more likely to drink more water. It’s also important to stay away from alcoholic or caffeinated beverages the day before your flight, during your flight, or the day after your flight. These beverages can cause dehydration and disrupt your sleeping schedule, which can only worsen the effects of jet lag.

Cancel plans for an inactive flight. While on a long flight, give your legs some exercise. Walk up and down the aisles. Do some stretches in your seat. Something as simple as standing up and sitting down every now and then may not feel like much, but it signals your body that it’s not time for sleep. Remaining active in any way possible revitalizes and refreshes your body, wards off stiffness, and eases the symptoms of jet lag. Unless sleep time is planned on your flight, don’t snooze. This only throws your internal clock even more off schedule.

Look towards the light. The best way to adapt your body fast is by using light to your advantage. Sunlight reduces the production of sleep-producing melatonin, cueing your body that it should be awake. Upon arrival, expose your body to sunlight by taking walks or sitting in outdoor cafes. It’s one of the easiest ways to wind your internal clock and get in sync with your new time zone.

Dine wisely. The type of food you eat is important to alleviating jet lag because of the way specific foods react inside your body. High-protein meals stimulate the body’s active phase, so your body associates them with morning time. Your body associates high-carbohydrate meals with the end of the day, when it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed.

Cross jet lag off your travel itinerary for good. Make sure your seatbacks are in their upright position, and consider these tips your passport to dreamland.

 
 

TIP OF THE WEEK

AVOID THE SNOOZE BUTTON
Uninterrupted slumber is better sleep. Train yourself to get up on the first ring.