When planning a trip abroad, most people focus on their itineraries – what they will do, where to stay, where to eat, etc. And this is one of the best parts about planning a trip. After all, without such planning, you can leave your destination without having experienced it as you wished. But how often do you think about jet lag? Jet lag is one of the things that can hamper your tour. After all, how can you enjoy different cuisines, shopping experiences, or even a day at the beach when tired? How can you enjoy your stay when you can barely focus on simple tasks such as brushing your teeth? Jet lag can hinder an otherwise fantastic trip – and we will show you how to fight it.
Why Do People Get Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a common problem affecting travelers moving from one time zone to another. Think about it like this. Suppose you sleep at 9 pm and wake up at 5 am in one country. Your body will grow accustomed to this – not based on the exact clock hours but by the hours you stay awake. So, jet lag will develop if you travel to a country with an 8-hour difference from your home country. You will find yourself feeling tired before or way after 9 pm and will have a hard time waking up at 5 am at your destination. The effect will even be higher if you have traveled far from home, as your body will sync with your home time zone. As a result of altering when you sleep, you will likely suffer effects such as fatigue, moodiness, and reduced focus. These effects can make it hard to enjoy your trip.
How to Fight Jet Lag
Being moody, tired, or even sick on a trip makes your stay unbearable. Imagine waking up groggy, yet the plan is to zip-line through a forest. Would you enjoy it? Hardly. So, it is best to fight jet lag using some proven techniques:
1. The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Jet lag is significantly evident during the first few days. So, if you will travel to a region with a considerable time difference, the key lies in arriving early. You can get to the destination two to three days earlier. And you can spend this extra time adjusting to the new hours. You can use the same technique when heading home.
2. Adjust to Your Destination Before Arrival
Suppose you cannot add a few days to your itinerary. In this case, you must adjust your sleep schedule before arriving at your destination. Here is how you do this – sleep according to the destination. For example, if 5 pm is 11 pm in your destination, start staying up much later so you can sleep closer to your sleep time in your destination. You can adjust the time by half an hour before moving up to a few hours. And before heading back home, do the same thing.
3. Alter Your Light Exposure
Your sleep schedule follows your exposure to light and darkness. For example, most people start feeling sleepy at around 9 pm following three hours of darkness. But if you plan to sleep at 6 pm, you will face the challenge of reduced exposure to darkness. An easy way to fix this is to draw the curtains around 3 pm to create the illusion of darkness. Then you will have an easier time sleeping early. And you can use artificial lighting in the wee hours to mimic daytime so you can wake up early.
4. Rest Enough
A sure way to experience jet lag is to arrive at your destination already tired. So, get enough hours in the week leading to your trip. Ideally, you should get at least seven hours of sleep each night. And if that means sleeping on the plane, then, by all means, do that!
5. Use Melatonin Supplements
Adjusting your sleep schedule is easier said than done. And for most people, even altering their light exposure is not enough to get them to sleep. Consider using melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep. But do this under the guidance of a doctor to avoid adverse health effects.
6. Stay Hydrated
A significant part of feeling energized while on holiday is being hydrated. So, even before reaching your destination, keep up with your fluid intake. Most adults need about two liters of water though the needs may be higher for those who exercise and those in hot and dry regions. Adjust your intake accordingly and avoid dehydrating drinks like wine and coffee.
7. Time Your Arrival
Getting to your destination at an odd hour increases the jet lag effects. You can avoid this by scheduling a flight arriving at your usual waking time. This tip is especially crucial for long international flights, which can arrive during the wee hours. Also, avoid long layovers, as these can hamper your adjustment process.
8. Maintain Your Schedule
Do what you usually do at home to avoid interrupting your system too much. For example, if you often exercise, keep this up even during your holiday. It reduces disruptions and helps your body adjust faster.
9. Regulate Your Stress Levels
Being stressed makes it harder to fall asleep and thus reduces your chances of fighting jet lag. Find effective ways to deal with stress, e.g., journaling, listening to music, swimming, etc. The more balance you are, the easier it is to fall asleep. Eating nutritious food also helps a lot!
10. Take Naps
If you are too tired to enjoy your trip, take naps. Power naps are a great way to adjust to the destination while helping you replenish your energy.
While on this, ensure you have a valid passport for your trip. A damaged or expired passport is invalid and will have you sent away by immigration or airline officials – there are worse things than jet lag! So, if your passport is not travel-ready, you should always get a new one. There are multiple ways how you can get a new passport. The fastest one is to use passport agency services.