Overcoming jet lag... it’s the Twilight Zone of mental and bodily confusion, and no one can seem to provide an adequate jet lag cure.
You’re waking when you should be sleeping, and nodding off mid-conversation to your boss at work: and this is 6 days after you touched down!
You constantly feel wired and on edge, your words get confused and you cannot see, let alone think through the fog. Where’s a jet lag cure that works!?
Lucky for all the travel bugs, The Goodnight Co. has compiled a list of jet lag defences that will actually help you feel human again after your next trip. Read on to find out what they are!
1. Set Yourself A Routine
This is probably the best thing to help you get out of your jet lag funk.
Don’t get us wrong, having to go to work on a Monday morning after a 2-week vacation in Hawaii/The Maldives/Insert-Your-Dream-Destination-Here might not be something you’re looking forward to but it actually does help force you back into a routine!
This helps you set boundaries for your sleep and gets your right back on track. Just a bit of a heads up – this will involve a few days of feeling absolutely knackered so it’s not enough to do just on its own...
2. Find Bright, Natural Lights (Or Stay Away from Them)
Your circadian rhythm is largely regulated by exposure to light - your eyes relay this information to a part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which uses it to help set your internal clock. Therefore, being outside when it’s bright out, even if you’re feeling like it should be the middle of the night, can help reset that clock to local time.
Try going for a run or brisk walk first thing in the morning. In addition to getting some sunlight, exercise can also help combat jet lag symptoms.
3. Alter Your Sleep Ritual Prior to the Trip
Some people find that slowly changing their sleep schedule at home before a trip is helpful. If dealing with a very small time zone shift, like three hours, try and live on the upcoming time zone’s schedule a bit in advance if at all possible. When changing time zones radically, USA to Europe or Asia, a two-hour nap at some point during the day, after lunch or before dinner ideally, is helpful.
For west-to-east travel, try advancing your internal clock by going to bed and waking about an hour earlier than you usually would - it’s just like “springing ahead” for daylight savings. If you’re going east-to-west, do the opposite: try to get to sleep and wake later than normal.
It’s worth noting that for short trips or when traveling just one or two time zones away, it might be better to just stay on your home time. You might leave the party early, but flip-flopping within the same week can be really tough on your system.
Now you've overcome your jet lag, you might want to get prepared for your next trip! There are many more sleeping woes when it comes to travelling, like the First Night Effect. Lucky for you, we've already written all about how you can over come it.