jet lag

7 Ultimate Tips to Cope With Jet Lag

October 28, 2020

Everybody loves a little travel to the other side of the world. Exploring new cultures, food, foreign languages, and exotic landscapes. But the further you travel by plane, the more likely you are going to have jet lag. But what is jet lag exactly and what can you do to prevent it? Here are 7 tips that will help you cope better.

What is Jet Lag?

Flying is fun, but jet lags are definitely not – if you ever had one, then you know what we are talking about. The scientific term for jet lag is desynchronosis and you could also call it flight fatigue. Generally speaking, it is a temporary disorder that causes insomnia, fatigue, and in some cases headaches, dizziness, lack of appetite, and other physical and mental symptoms. 

Jet lag is a result of air travel across multiple time zones, for example on the way from Asia to Europe. It disrupts the internal circadian clock and can last for a few days to up to a week, depending on how prone you are to get it and how many time zones you cross. Frequent flyers learn how to deal with it, by simply following these 7 tips. 

1. Adapt to your new schedule before your flight

Try to be ahead of a possible jet lag and adapt to the new time zone of your destination a few days prior to your flight. If you are flying from Thailand to Europe, try to go to bed earlier than you usually would. If your next destination is New Zealand, you should stay up a few hours longer. By the way, traveling east is always harder on you.

If you try to adapt to the new schedule you are going to have, your body and mind will have an easier time to catch up. Frequent flyers also know that it is smart to choose flights that arrive in the morning. The closer the time of arrival is to the time when you usually wake up, the better.

2. Wear an eye mask and earplugs on the plane

When you sleep on the plane, you should try to avoid all kinds of disturbances. Therefore, a sleep mask and earplugs are essential for a smooth journey and a good sleep. Some airlines give them to you for free, however, if you are not sure if they include this service, don’t forget to bring some. You can buy sleep masks and earplugs at most drug stores and lots of shops at the airports. 

For more comfort, you should also think about purchasing a neck pillow. They help to prevent neck pain from sleeping in a sitting position. There are all kinds of different models, some even have integrated headphones or massage your neck. Usually, a simple comfortable neck pillow will do, so try to focus more on functionality.

3. Drink and stay hydrated

Make sure that you drink enough during your flight to stay hydrated. We are not talking about alcohol or sugary drinks, of course, but about water. The air inside a plane is usually very dry and deprives you of water. The result is dry, stretched skin, and general dehydration. 

To avoid this you should drink enough water throughout the flight. Juices are also fine, but try to avoid caffeinated sugary drinks, coffee, black tea, and alcohol. Even though it is tempting to have a glass of red wine, because you think it makes you fall asleep quicker, the alcohol will dehydrate you. It will be a lot harder for you to adjust to the new time zone when you are dehydrated, so don’t forget to drink water regularly.

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4. If you fly to an event, arrive earlier

Especially if you are traveling for business, for example to a convention, it might be a smart move to arrive two days prior. That way you can assure that you have enough time to adapt and save your energy for the busy days ahead. As mentioned before, jet lag can make you feel fatigued, so if you want to be on the top of your game, give yourself some adaptation time.

Arriving on the same day you have to start work, is not a good idea. Even if you do all the things to prevent jet lag, air travel is always quite exhausting. Try to give your body some time to regain energy and stretch out. Some light exercise, like walking or yoga, is highly recommended on the first days of your arrival. 

5. Try taking melatonin

Melatonin is the sleep hormone your body produces to make you fall asleep. Your body produces it as soon as it gets dark outside. If you want to help yourself fall asleep quicker and in a healthy way, you can supplement melatonin. Unlike sleeping pills, it is all-natural and doesn’t have any harming side effects.

You can take it before your flight to sleep better on the plane or at your new time zone, to help you fall asleep at night. 0.5 mg of Melatonin should be enough to get the desired result. Melatonin supplements can be found in almost every big drug store and are usually quite affordable. 

6. Take it easy, but get outside

As mentioned before, it is best to arrive in the morning and to slowly get used to the new environment and time zone. You shouldn’t go straight on your next big adventure, but instead, relax to have a stress-free start at your new destination. Letting your body recover doesn’t mean that you should only lie around and stay inside.

Try to find more of a healthy balance: During the day you should get outside: take a walk or jog to move your body after sitting for a long time on a plane. If the weather is nice, you can go to a park and relax there or sit in a nice coffee shop to get a feel for the city you are in. Balance is key to fight jet lag, so get outside and moving, without stressing yourself or your body. That way you will be ready for all the adventures ahead.

7. Get a relaxing massage on the day you arrive

One of the best things you can do for yourself after a long day (or even days) of air travel is a nice relaxing massage. Sitting for hours on a plane has its toll on your body. To stretch it out and get rid of any tension, it is best to get a good Thai massage. It will work wonders and help against any tightness in your neck, back, shoulders, or other areas of your body after a long day of travel.

If you are not a fan of Thai massage and prefer something a bit smoother, then either Swedish massage or a nice Aromatherapy oil massage will do the trick. They can help you truly unwind, especially if some nicely scented essential oils are at play. A truly refreshing and relaxing experience, that will help re-energize your body. 

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