6 Tips For Avoiding Jet Lag
Jet lag is not just a cute term for your vacation hangover. Traveling can take a serious toll on your body, leaving you tired, dehydrated and disoriented. And lest we forget (and we always do) the lethargic fog of dreaded jet lag doesn’t just hit you on the return trip, you’re going to feel it on the first few days of precious vacay too. But while there is no cure for this airplane-induced ailment, Adam Tishman, Co-Founder of Helix Sleep does have a few all jet, and no lag tips for when you’re heading out, and (inevitably) heading back.
1. Change time zones—Early
Slowly adjusting your sleep pattern before your trip eases the transition. For instance, if you’re headed to the Amalfi Coast start going to sleep and waking up a little earlier. Head to Hawaii? Stay up late and sleep in. By changing your schedule, the time change won’t hit you as hard once you reach your destination.
2. Stay Hydrated
The universal panacea that we literally hear whenever we ask for advice.
“How do I advance in my career?”
“Well, first off, stay hydrated!”
Well, no surprise here, same goes for jet lag. Stay hydrated. Before your trip, on the actual journey, and don’t stop once you arrive. Water is the key.
3. Sleep on the Plane
Booking an overnight flight means you can squeeze the most out of your precious vacation days, but if you don’t actually catch some Z’s on the flight you’ll be a zombie the next day. So to assist you in falling asleep try melatonin (the herbal stuff works…really!), or hit the hard stuff (that would be sleeping pills). With sleeping pills though, go for the ones that won’t stick with you for next two days. Also, don’t pop ‘em too early because God forbid your flight gets delayed. Then you’re hallucinating in the terminal, and no good can come of that.
When you’re in flight, one drink is equal to two or three on the ground. But before you getting excited about getting more bang for your buck, consider the hangover. Flying dehydrates you. Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. Dehydration is what hangovers are and the number one rule for all jet, no lag, is hydration.
5. Pack for Success
If you can afford it, pack a pillow (and by afford it we mean space-wise as space is currency in the packing universe). It will come in handy when you are trying to sleep on the plane and when you arrive at the hotel—you can never count on hotel pillows (and don’t even get us started on AirBnB).
Also, don’t forget to pack your headphones, ideally noise canceling ones that will instantly silence any screaming toddlers and lull you to sleep with your favorite tunes.
6. Get some sun for god’s sake—you need it.
You’re on vacation, so this probably shouldn’t be that hard. It doesn’t even have to be a tropical getaway. Sun is sun, and sun stimulates the kinds of hormones that keep you awake during the day. So trick your body. Go ahead and let it think you’ve been in this time zone all along. Wait until dark before you pass out. Do not, we repeat, do not take a nap during the day if at all possible. Think about how good your sleep will be if you make yourself work for it?