With all the adventures that travel brings, no one wants jet lag to get in the way. If left unchecked, the fatigue, headaches, and irritability that accompany travel can completely ruin the first few days of your trip. Luckily, there are some preventative measures you can take before and after your plane lands to ensure you get the most out of your trip. Below are four of the most common ways to avoid jet lag.
4 Things You Can Do to Avoid Jet Lag
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water can significantly cut down the negative effects of jet lag by flushing out your systems and keeping them hydrated. Make sure you hydrate before boarding your plane, and drink plenty of water throughout the course of the flight, and even after you land.
Travel Tip: Don’t spend $5.00 on a bottle of water at the airport! You can bring an empty reusable water bottle through airport security and fill it up at various water fountains.
2. Go Outside
Some extra sunlight can reset your internal clock by regulating your melatonin levels. Prolonged exposure to daylight can push back the time your body naturally gets tired and make it easier to adjust to a new sleep schedule. Plus, the exercise of walking around and exploring your destination can not only lead to more restful sleep; it also familiarizes you with the new area!
Travel Tip: If you’re traveling East, spend more time in daylight. If you’re traveling West, spend more time in moonlight. Your body will recognize the different types of light and adapt its cycle accordingly.
3. Take Short Naps
Make sure you’re getting restful sleep once you land to avoid jet lag, even if it’s not for long. Short naps can help boost your energy for the rest of the day, while not inhibiting your sleep at night. Try to keep the naps between 20-30 minutes, and don’t snooze within four hours of bedtime.
Travel Tip: Think ahead and pack a comfortable pillow, earplugs, or even a sleep mask from home. These small comforts can go a long way in helping you sleep in an unfamiliar place and cancel out any distractions that might keep you up.
4. Avoid Alcohol
While the free alcohol onboard your flight may seem enticing, drinking can worsen the effects of jet lag by disrupting your sleep even more. In fact, 42 percent of travelers say that cutting out alcohol completely helps minimize their sense of jet lag.
Travel Tip: Coffee should also be avoided. The caffeine can not only inhibit your sleep hormones, but also dehydrate you. Wait at least two days before drinking coffee or alcohol again to let your body settle into the new time zone.