Jet lag is one of the most dreaded aspects of traveling. It can make you feel tired, irritable, and disoriented, which is not how anyone wants to feel when they’re on vacation or when they get home. Trust me – I have been wide awake for hours in the middle of the night just wishing I could sleep. Here are some proven and creative ways to prevent jet lag and get you on a good sleep schedule:
Try to sleep on your flight.
Dress comfortably for your flight. Pack a travel pillow, blanket, and noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to create a comfortable sleeping environment.
Dehydration can make jet lag feel worse, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your flight. I know it’s tempting to have a drink to help you sleep, but try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
Stay awake on your arrival day.
As tempting as it is to nap, do not give in and shut your eyes. If you HAVE to rest, take a short nap to recharge your batteries, but no more than 20-30 minutes – so you can get on the correct sleep schedule.
Get some exercise when you arrive.
Don’t be a couch potato. Get out and explore, take a walk, go for a run, or hit the hotel gym once you arrive at your destination. Exercise can help you adjust to a new time zone and reduce the symptoms of jet lag.
Light exposure can help regulate your body’s internal clock. Try to get as much natural light as possible during the day, and use blackout shades or an eye mask to create a dark sleeping environment at night.
Try a natural sleep aid.
There are plenty of natural sleep aids that can help you relax and fall asleep. Some popular options include melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile tea.
Eating heavy meals can make jet lag feel even worse, so it’s best to stick to light, healthy meals. Try to avoid eating anything too close to bedtime, so your body can focus on resting instead.
Adjust your sleep schedule before you go.
If you’re traveling across time zones, try to adjust your sleep schedule a few days before you leave. This will help your body get used to the new time zone and may reduce the impact of jet lag once you arrive.
With these tips in hand, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running and make the most of your travels!