Travelling is great, but changing time zones isn’t. A bad jet lag can really mess up your trip, something I experienced on my current trip to Vietnam. I used to be one of those people who never really got jet-lagged, but that, unfortunately, wasn’t the case this time. I felt groggy and miserable for a good two days trying to get my body to catch up to my new location. Some people are more sensitive to jet lags than others, but luckily there a few things you can do to limit the damage. These are my tips for dealing with a jet lag:
Sleep on the plane
The best way to get used to a new timezone is to prepare yourself beforehand. If your arrival time at your destination is in the morning (local time), make sure you sleep on the plane so it won’t be so hard for you to stay awake during the day. If your arrival time is in the evening, make sure you stay awake during the flight so that you’ll be tired enough to go straight to bed once you land.
Sleeping on a plane can be challenging, but my trick is to stay up the night before so that I’m tired once I get on the plane. I also make myself as comfy as possible with a neck pillow, earplugs and an eye mask. I prefer sleeping propped up against the side, so I make sure to get a window seat on long flights.
Dehydration makes you more tired, groggy and can give you a nasty headache, making your jet lag that much worse.
The air on airplanes is extremely dry so be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol. I know, saying no to free wine is hard for me too, but trust me on this: alcohol is not your friend.
I always make sure to bring a large bottle of water with me on long flights as flight attendants are often too busy to keep bringing you drinks. Invest in a reusable water bottle, like Grayl or Lifestraw, and fill it up after customs. I bring at least a liter.
Eat at the right times
One of the reasons they serve so much food on long flights is to break up the time, making the flight feel shorter. It also actually helps you get into the right timezone as they serve meals according to the local time at your destination. This signals your body that it must be morning since you’re being served breakfast 😉
Even if you’re not particularly hungry, try sticking to these meal times, also after landing. The quicker you accept the new reality, the faster your jet lag will be gone.
Stick to the new timezone
It is hard. Really hard. But once you land, the best thing you can do with a jet lag is to force yourself into the new timezone. No naps, but getting up and going to bed at the appropriate time. The longer you let yourself live in between time zones, the longer your jet lag is going to take.
So toughen up and push through it. After all, it’s better to be miserable for 2 days than 2 weeks.
Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself, but instead go out and do things. Distracting yourself by exploring and doing fun things works for both hangovers and jet lags. The fresh air and natural light will help your body adjust. And as unpleasant as it is, even the worst jet lag will eventually pass.
I hope these tips will help you avoid or minimise your jet lag on your next trip. Do you have any additional advice? Let me know in the comments!
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