Fed up with jet lag throwing a wrench into your travels? We hear you. Experts say that recovering from jet lag usually takes one day for each time zone you cross – and nobody’s got time for that. While you probably can’t entirely escape jet lag, you can find clever ways to reduce its impact. Here’s what to try.
Break up your trip with a stopover.
If you’re flying halfway around the world (especially if you’re going east, which tends to cause tougher jet leg than west), think about making a one-night stopover along the way. Choose a city you’ve always wanted to see and give your body some extra time to adjust as you explore.
Sleep before your trip.
It’s tempting to intentionally exhaust yourself before boarding a long haul flight so you’ll sleep in the air, but that can sabotage your goals. The more well-rested you are when you start your trip, the more equipped you’ll be to manage jet lag symptoms when you land.
Drink plenty of water.
The dry air aboard planes can quickly dehydrate you, and that can make you feel even more groggy. Make sure you drink lots of water before and during your flight to stay hydrated. If you can swing it, try to resist caffeine and alcohol – but we won’t tell if you’d rather opt for a pre-takeoff glass of champagne.
Bask in the sunshine.
Anyone who’s experienced winter fatigue what a big difference sunlight can make on your energy. If you’re clever about how much light you’re exposed to, especially if you’re traveling across fewer than eight time zones, you could help your circadian rhythm adjust faster. If you’re traveling from east to west, try to expose yourself to bright light in the evening, and if you’re traveling from west to east, seek out bright light in the mornings.
Commit to your new schedule.
Most jet lag spirals go a little something like this: you land in your new destination feeling electrified. Initially unfazed by the time change, you vow to follow the local schedule for the rest of your trip. Fast forward to two days later, when you’re falling asleep over your lunch or bolting out of bed wide awake at 3 a.m. To get ahead of this discombobulation, set your watch to the time of your destination before you even board your flight. If you can manage it, try to move your mealtimes closer your destination’s as well. Adapt to the local time norms the second you arrive, even if you’re exhausted. It will help you find your balance more quickly.
Seek advice from a pro.
If you’re a road warrior and regularly bogged down with jet lag, you may want to pay a visit to a sleep specialist. They can help you face jet lag head-on with the fewest possible interruptions.