Traveling is something everyone loves in theory and wants to do, but in practice it takes a toll on your body. The time zone changes alone can be difficult if you’re not prepared. If you’re a road warrior, you’ve likely experienced certain unpleasantries, such as fatigue, insomnia and diarrhea. Fortunately, you can prevent jet lag as long as you follow certain steps.
1. Eat Smart
It may not seem like much, but even a three-hour shift in eating patterns can wreak havoc on your body. When you begin travelling, start snacking. The small, light meals will help you shift your body toward the new eating regimen. It’s also important to eat a lot of protein at breakfast once you arrive at your destination. The essential energy provided by a protein-rich meal will get you past those walls that come with jet lag.
2. Get into the Time Zone
Start living as though you’re already at your destination, even during travel. Set your clocks to the new zone, and sleep on the schedule you would be once you arrive. This will get you in a renewed state of mind and body to match your new time zone. At the very least, you’ll kill two birds with one stone by combining your jet lagged time with your travel time.
3. Step into the Light
Daylight energizes and recharges us. When you arrive at your destination, go out and get some sunlight. The warmth of the sun’s rays provides vitamins you need to get going. The fresh air and exercise will do you some good as well. It’s not necessary to go outside and build a barn like you’re Amish – a simple cat nap by the pool is plenty enough.
4. Sleep More
While it’s unhealthy to change too much in your sleep patterns, don’t be afraid to sleep in a couple hours during your first day or two in a new place. Even an extra 15-minute nap goes a long way in keeping you going on the road. If you’re driving, sleep is especially important, as you’re in control of a huge vehicle. You may not realize how tired you are, but sitting behind the wheel for a two-day road trip can be draining.
5. Stay Hydrated
You always need to drink water – a lot of it. It’s easy to remember to stay hydrated when you’re hot, but dehydration is even more dangerous in the cold. You can dry out in high altitudes (including while in flight) as well. Staying well hydrated is the key to staying alive. Our bodies are almost entirely water, and drinking water is the most essential thing you’ll do all day.
Stretches, yoga, and exercise reinvigorate your mind, body, and spirit. When you land in your new time zone, you’ll want to get out and exercise. Stretches can be completed on the plane or in the car as well. If at all possible walk up and down the aisle every so often or, if you’re driving, stop every so often to jog in place and get some exercise in.
When all else fails, medicate. There are pills to help you sleep, relieve anxiety, and help with motion sickness while travelling. In addition, once you reach your destination, you can take vitamins and other pills to energize and feel more rested. Above all else, in some states, you can even enjoy certain herbal relaxation methods.
Traveling the world is something everyone should do. There’s only so much you can read or see in Hollywood. In order to truly experience life, you need to get out there and experience it with boots on ground zero. When you do travel, jet lag is a real concern. Fight it with these careful steps, and you’ll be ok.