Whether you’re flying to Europe for your honeymoon or California for business, you want to be awake and alert throughout the length of your trip. Jetlag can absolutely ruin your travels. Make the most of your long-distance journey and battle jetlag with these 5 tips.
1. Get plenty of rest the night before
If you know you’re going to have limited access to food one day, you’ll probably stuff yourself with all your favorites the day before. Likewise, you should stock up on sleep the night before you travel. Though sleeping for 12 hours may be excessive and will do more harm than help, you should be sure to get a good 8 hours of sleep. Turn on some soothing sounds to help you fall asleep quickly, and put on your coziest pajamas and fresh sheets. Finally, make sure you have no reason to be anxious (like wondering if you locked the door or blew out the candles). Hopefully, these will keep you from tossing and turning or waking up in the middle of the night! An eye sleep mask and ear plugs may help keep out distractions, too!
2. Fly at night
Imagine boarding a plane as the sun sets at 6pm and 4 hours later you arrive and watch the sun set again! Your body says it’s time for bed, but your watch tells you it’s time for dinner. Instead, schedule your flight at night so that you’ll arrive the next day when the sun is up. You may have to go to bed a few hours before or after your body tells you to, but your body will be far less confused and you won’t feel quite as sleepy. Flying at night also allows you to sleep during the flight, which helps your body adjust to time zones.
3. Resist taking a sleeping aid
It may seem like a good idea to take a sleeping aid, but we advise against that. And we’re not just talking prescriptions; avoid lavender scents and melatonin vitamins, too. We totally understand how hard it can be to get through long flights. Therefore, you may feel the urge to take a sleeping aid on the plane. You may also think it’s best to sleep it off and take an aid as soon as you arrive at your hotel. However, it can be difficult to shake off the effects of the sleeping aid. Your entire day will end up being foggy and unproductive. Instead, wait until the earliest time it’s acceptable to sleep – think 7 or 8pm and allow yourself to sleep early. It can be hard to justify sleeping when you’ve just arrived in a new location, but your trip will be much more enjoyable if you do. Though you may wake up the next day at 4am, your body will thank you. You’ll be much more alert, awake, and well-rested.
4. Don’t plan much activity for the day you arrive
Avoid scheduling important meetings, exciting excursions or activities, and timely appointments on the first day of your trip. With the time change, the stress of traveling, and getting oriented with your surroundings, you’ll be mentally exhausted and not performing at your best. Get some rest and rejuvenate before doing too much. Order room service, visit the hotel pool or spa, or take a walk around the neighborhood! Not only will knowing the area be beneficial to you throughout your trip, but the fresh air and blood circulation will help raise your metabolism and wake you up.
5. Avoid salty foods
While you’re waiting at the airport or hanging out at the hotel, you may be tempted to snack on a bag of chips or a hot pretzel. In order to survive jetlag, though, you’ll want to stay away from salty foods. Salt decreases your potassium levels, and lower potassium can make you feel sleepy. Opt for a smoothie, fresh fruit, granola bar, or salad, which will fill you up and keep you energized!