Spring is upon us and it is time to start planning your summer vacation. Whether you travel for business or fun, enjoying your destination should be your top priority. While you aim to have a great time, its important that you plan well, stay positive, and if flying outside of your time zone, understand how jet-lag may affect your trip.
Jet-lag is a sleep-wake disorder that exists when your body is removed from its normally regulated circadian clock. The effects tend to be either worse, or more likely, the more time zones you cross. Jet-lag may cause fatigue, moodiness, the feeling of being sick, and even stomach problems such as diarrhea and constipation. But, with careful preparation you can easily overcome or prevent jet-lag all together.
Here are four tips to help you overcome jet-lag and enjoy your trip.
Gradually Adjust Your Schedule Before You Leave
It may take a few days to prepare before your trip but knowing where you are flying and approximating when you will eat and sleep will be helpful. Try eating your meals around the time you will eat in your travel destination. For sleep, it really depends on which direction you are traveling. If you’re flying east, try to go to bed an hour before your normal bedtime. If you are flying west, try to go to sleep an hour later.
Stay on Your Local Schedule
The effects of jet-lag can make staying on your traveled-to destination difficult. However, if you do get jet-lag the time you spend to get on the local schedule can save you days of feeling ill. So, if you get to your new location during the day try to stay active and wait to sleep until nighttime. Eat meals during the local meal times (remember, you practiced!). It also may help to eat local healthy meals that won’t upset your stomach and avoid alcohol – at least for the first day.
Hydrate (with water)
One often overlooked way to overcome jet-lag is to drink as much water as possible before, during, and after your flight. At the same time, you should avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks. Staying properly hydrated does two things on long trips. First, water can counter the dehydrating effects of the airplane’s cabin, especially during long international flights. Second, dehydration can make your jet-lag symptoms even worse.
When You Get on the Plane, Pretend You Are Already There.
Jet-lag is all about preparing your body for a sleep-wake schedule you are not used to and prepping as soon as you can. One way to do this is to regulate your sleep once you are on the plane. So, if it is nighttime in your destination you should try to sleep on the plane. If it is daytime in your destination try to avoid sleep.
Not everyone will experience jet-lag while traveling, but it is suggested that nearly 70% of long-distance travelers will experience some symptoms. Take care of your body as you travel and don’t fall ill to the effects of jet-lag.