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

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.

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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 lag[2] 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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