Traveling is an excellent opportunity to explore the world and gain new experiences, but it can come with some unintended side effects, like jet lag.
Jet lag is what happens when your sleep cycle and internal rhythm are disrupted, usually due to switching time zones after flying.
This disruption makes you much more exhausted and can throw your entire schedule off.
The symptoms of jet lag are usually easy to spot, mainly:
- General feeling of unwellness
- Lack of focus
- Stomach problems
These can serve to dampen and hinder anyone’s vacation, which is all the more reason to recognize the symptoms when they occur so you can take steps to relieve them.
With a little bit of knowledge, you can not only beat jet lag but also prevent it from happening entirely.
This article will give you tips on how to do exactly that so you can have a better, more lively stay, wherever you go.
Scheduling a Proper Bedtime
This one might seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people skip out on this step.
You’ll want to try and set your bedtime up to match the local time, so as to sleep at regular times while on vacation.
It may be tempting to go to sleep once you land, but you shouldn’t do this, as it could further ruin your schedule.
Be sure to sleep in a quiet and cool room so you're less likely to wake up during the night. It might make it harder to go back to sleep if this happens.
Getting comfortable rest at night is one way of fighting back jet lag, because setting up a temporary sleep schedule while away from home can give you some sense of order.
If this doesn’t help, you can also try taking short naps to help give you quick bursts of energy.
This isn’t an end all be all, as naps aren’t always the best solution for a long-term problem, but it might give you much-needed energy at that moment.
It can also help keep your internal clock — or circadian rhythm — in check, too.
Getting Enough Exercise
Exercising might be the last thing on your mind when all you want to do is sleep, but studies have shown that it’s quite effective at combating the destructive effects of jet lag.
Start simple if you don’t usually exercise, doing only what feels most comfortable. This could mean a brisk walk or jog to get active.
Exercising isn’t just good for jet lag, but for your health as a whole. It can also give you much-needed energy whenever you need it.
Exercising also helps you to sleep at night and feel better about yourself
Eat Healthy Foods and Ditch the Sugar
One thing that could potentially make your jet lag worse is consuming a lot of unhealthy foods while afflicted.
You’ll want to make sure to get plenty of water and to eat nutritious foods while suffering from jet lag. This should give you more energy and make you feel less exhausted.
You’ll want to avoid both sugar and caffeine. It can be very tempting going for that latte or candy bar in hopes of getting a good jolt of energy, but these more often than not just tend to make you crash, rather than give you any real sense of energy.
You can substitute sugary treats for fruit, and coffee for water, making your diet all the healthier and energizing.
What time you eat is also crucial. Eating a lot before bed might give you an upset stomach or make sleep a little harder for you.
You’ll want to eat well before bedtime to give your body enough time to digest its foods, instead of it doing most of the work during sleep.
Getting Enough Sleep Before the Trip and on the Plane
Although you can’t prevent jet lag in most cases, you can help mitigate some of its nastier effects by sleeping ahead of time, either at home or on the plane.
You don’t want to start your trip off sleep deprived, as it could make things that much harder for you.
Jet lag isn’t fun, but you can beat it. Getting your sleep cycle interrupted can have pretty harmful effects on your body and mood. Your vacation might also suffer.
Make sure to keep an eye on when you’re going to bed, your diet, how much exercise you’re getting, and so on.
All of these factors contribute to jet lag and have a tangible impact on them as such.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some advice on how to overcome it and enjoy yourself and all future vacations without worrying about jet lag.
This story was brought to you in partnership with The Sleep Advisor.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.