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Productivity
Published: May 26, 2017

Only 7% of Travelers Can Really Beat Jet Lag, This Is What They Do

How many times have you planned an itinerary only to fall behind schedule by a few hours – or even a whole day? Getting on a red eye or delayed flight is never fun when business awaits you at your destination. You arrive in a foreign country swollen eyed or with eye bags, and try to make sense of what you have to do.

As exciting as flying halfway around the world is, it can also be stressful for all the unnecessary reasons. Whether you are finally embarking on the trip of your dreams or jet setting for business-related reasons, jetlag doesn’t have to be part of your travel package.

You didn’t fly all the way to Europe to unintentionally sleep half a day away. Just think of all the authentic pasta, gelato and pizza waiting to be devoured.

Physical Condition Isn’t Immune from Jet Lag Influence

Many believe that jet lag is merely a state of mind, and has nothing to do with our body’s physical condition – as if it’s a switch we can turn on and off. The battle with jet lag is more than just sleeping when it still bright out and staying awake when everyone isn’t. In fact, almost 93% of travelers experience it.

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)1 kept track of Major League Baseball’s schedules, scores and player performance in a span of twenty years and over 40,000 games. Results showed that players who had to fly east had poorer performance than the home team, surrendered more runs, and lost frequently.

Troublesome Symptoms That Kill A Journey

Usual symptoms of jet lag2 include insomnia, fatigue, nausea, and daytime sleepiness.

For more sensitive individuals, indigestion and diarrhoea may occur. Jet lag is said to get worse when one travels from west to east since “time is lost” by going back a few time zones.

Fighting Flying Blues

1. As much as possible, choose early flights.

The National Sleep Foundation 3 recommends selecting a flight that allows you to arrive around early evening and stay awake until 10 pm. You miss out on plenty if you choose to sleep while the rest of the city still bustles around.

2. Prior to your flight, bask in the sunlight for awhile.

That extra dose of vitamin D will help you regulate your biological clock faster. Staying indoors for long periods of time may worsen jet lag. When booking your ticket, choose to sit next to the window. not only do you get first dibs on how much sunlight to let in through the window, you get extra padding and support for when you want to sleep. Choosing the best airplane seats 4 should be considered a talent.

3. Stay hydrated.

Also try to avoid coffee, alcoholic drinks, caffeine. We understand if you’d want to get some stimulants for your long days of sightseeing or meetings. Save those artificial energy boosters for when you land instead.

4. Upon boarding change the time on your watch to match your destination’s time zone.

If you don’t already use the World Clock feature on your mobile phones, you should. Synchronize your body’s internal clock to the external time.

5. Adjust to your environment.

Block out the loud gossiping. Instead of getting cranky, leave the crying kids be – it’s part of childhood. Consider the airplane buzz as white noise, eventually it’ll feel relaxing. Turbulence may come and go; think of it as a roller coaster ride instead. Plane rides aren’t meant to make you miserable.

6. Change into more comfortable clothes during a long flight if you must.

Flaunt your onesies or your cute flannel pajamas and stop worrying about what people will think. Better to leave the plane fresh after a 10+ hour flight than look crumpled and disoriented upon arrival.

7. Put together your own travel or sleeping kit.

Add helpful accessories such as a neck pillow, earplugs (earphones work too), a blanket and eye mask. It may not be as comfortable as sleeping on your bed, but you should do what you can to feel at ease.

8. Bring that book you meant to read.

Who knows, you might finally be able to finish it in a sitting. This is a foolproof way of not giving in to unwanted sleepiness, especially if the book keeps you on your toes.

9. Strike up a conversation with your plane seatmate.

That’s if he or she isn’t already asleep. This will make time fly by faster (pun intended). You’ve made yourself a new friend even before the plane lands.

10. Give your brain a rest too.

Stress can lead to sleeplessness. Even if you feel like sleeping, the mental toll on your body might not allow you to. We all have business goals to achieve,5 but sometimes you just have to leave work at work.

11. Try doing seat exercises to keep the blood flowing.

Due to the limited space, we don’t get to move around well in the plane so chances of jet lag hitting you hard are greater. However, once you land, avoid heavy exercises before bedtime if you don’t want to delay sleep.

12. Consulting a sleep specialist may also help get the circadian rhythm – and your lifestyle – back to normal.

They may recommend taking sleep medications.6 We all have varying levels of comfort and health. For those who travel really frequently, professional help might be best. Don’t risk leaving your symptoms untreated as it might develop into a more serious illness.

If all else fails, just remind yourself that you don’t want the frequent flier miles you worked so hard to collect go to waste.

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