How To Overcome Jetlag Like A Champ
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
It was 2020 and I was on my way to Thailand from the USA. My first big international trip. I boarded the huge vessel that would take us to Korea. Quickly I noticed that there was a mother with her baby on my right and a man hoarsely coughing on my left.
My odds of a peaceful ride were looking slim. 15 hours ominously lay before us as our unavoidable communal destiny.
After many semi-successful attempts at sleeping, watching at least 3 movies, a few mediocre airline meals, countless walks in the tight airplane aisles, and a few podcasts later, we made it to our destination.
The next few days, jet lag hit me like a brick wall about halfway through the day in Thailand. My body clock thought it was nighttime in the middle of the day in Thailand, so around 1:00 pm every day the first few days my body hurt and my eyes could barely keep open.
This feeling of Jet lag made me feel incredibly exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. When mixed with the excitement and wear of experiencing a new culture, it can be a lot to navigate.
While Jet lag is different for each person and trip, there are factors during your flight and after that can greatly mitigate the impacts of jet lag. Here are a few tips:
Drink Lots Of Water
Before, during, and after the flight. Drink water. It’s helpful to actually bring a refillable water bottle with you as most airports have places that you can fill up. Just make sure it’s empty when you go through security so you can keep your bottle.
While you can get water on planes, the portions are often small and the bottles can be pretty expensive in airports.
Try Not Sleeping
There’s a bit of a debate as to whether or not it’s better to sleep as much as you can on a flight or try to not sleep at all. Now, this depends on each person, but for me not sleeping as much as possible on planes is usually the best.
If I don’t sleep a lot on the plane and stay up until the “new” nighttime in the time zone I am entering, then I will always be able to sleep.
Sleep As Much As Possible
Some would argue that traveling internationally is tiring enough with all the time it takes to get to and through an airport, let alone airtime, so you might as well sleep as much as possible.
Travelling can be tiring enough, so it’s likely most will be able to sleep upon arrival, even if they slept while traveling. Maybe try both options and see what works best for you!
Exercise Once You’ve Landed
Exercise is recommended because it is a rhythm that can help your body adjust to being awake in a new time zone. Even if exercise isn’t your thing, going on light walks could be helpful in getting you adjusted.
Getting exposure to sunlight helps your body’s inner clock reset. We are impacted by the natural rhythms of daylight and night, so getting your body exposed to sunlight will help you, in the long run, adjust faster.
Even if you’re exhausted when you first arrive, make sure to get outside and be around the light during the daytime to adjust with the least amount of lingering jet lag.
Try Not To Nap Once You’ve Landed
Like I’ve already said, traveling internationally can be exhausting, so this one might be really difficult. I’d recommend not napping in the “new” time zone so that your body isn’t confused but adjust to being awake throughout the “new” daytime.
If you must nap, try to keep it short. On the first day, try to stay awake until 8:00 pm, then keep pushing it back each following day.
While Jet lag can be a nuisance in traveling, it doesn’t have to dominate your trip. These tips have worked for me, but even with the best tips it really depends on each person. I know people who claim to not be impacted by jet lag, and those who sleep through it for a week or two until they feel normal.
The key is to experiment and see what works best for you. My tips are a good place to start, so that Jet lag is minimal for you. Now go get out there in the world!
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