Jet lag: the bane of any traveller’s life. If you’re a frequent traveller or dealing with jet lag at the moment then do we have a secret for you! Ben Apple, creator of 30 Day Life Upgrade, shares the ultimate secret to beating jet lag:

This past week I flew from Shanghai to Nashville, a trip that I make about once a year that leaves me in half-sleep zombie mode for the first couple days after arrival. This time I decided to figure out how I could defeat the evils of jet lag and arrive in the States feeling fresh and ready to go take on the days ahead of me.  I’ve read all of the classic advice (no help at all…) like “sleep on the plane”, “drink water” and “don’t drink caffeine”.  These are clearly not really useful tips, so I did a little digging and found a genuinely useful trick, backed with an actual scientific study. With a little bit of research I learned the tricks to get your body quickly aligned with its new time zone.

Why do we experience jet lag?

Our bodies run on circadian rhythms that are roughly 24-hour cycles and typically aligned with our environment and whether it is light or dark outside.  These cycles affect how awake we are at certain periods during the day, so when we cross time zones due to travel, the shift throws our bodies out of whack.

What’s the secret to beating jet lag?

Since light plays such an important role in our circadian rhythms, we can use light to cause phase shifts in these rhythms that will reduce or eliminate jet lag.  The trick lies in knowing whether to seek light or avoid light and knowing when to do this.  To seek light means that you can either go outside into the sunlight or use a light box, and to avoid light means staying inside or wearing light blocking glasses.  Knowing when to seek or avoid light comes from a number of factors, such as the number of time zones crossed and the direction of travel.  To make things simple, check out Jet Lag Rooster, a site that makes all the calculations for you, and lets you know when to seek and avoid light to minimize jet lag.  Unfortunately, due to the timing on this particular trip, I had problems using the schedule provided.  Although I wasn’t able to follow the schedule perfectly, I was able to make things a bit easier by making some small changes to avoid light by using that time for quick naps.  Just taking the opportunity to get in a short power nap during this time was really refreshing and helped put me back on track.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you on your next trip!

Ben Apple
Hi!  My name is Ben, and I’m exploring ways to upgrade my life in 30 day chunks.  The plan is simple: I will choose something to do or learn for a 30 day time period, study the topic and dissect it, then share my findings and results.  These 30 day explorations will allow me to venture into new territory in my own life and connect me with others that are doing the same.  If you’re interested in suggesting new topics and areas to explore or simply interested in upgrading your own life, get in touch and let me know!

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Featured photo credit: Turboprop plane flying over the airport tower in sunrisevia Shutterstock

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