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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 August 21, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new.

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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