Who doesn’t like to travel to new, unexplored destinations? But with all the fun of a good, long-sitance trip, comes the monster called ‘jet lag’. When you travel across multiple time zones, you know what happens to your body. It might be nighttime at your destination, but your body’s sleep cycle still hasn’t adjusted to the changed time zones – and hence, you might find it difficult to sleep, or experience disturbed sleep patterns. Not only that, you can also suffer from fatigue, exhaustion, concentration loss, and even stomach problems! While jet lag cannot be completely done away with, here are some simple steps which can help you in coping with jet lag. Have a look.
Create a new schedule a month prior to travelling overseas
You know the difference between the time zones in your country and the country you are travelling to. The best way to cope with jet lag in advance is to set your routine according to the latter’s time zone.
If you are travelling eastwards, try sleeping 30 minutes prior to your normal sleep time. Increase the time frame every few days till your sleep cycle is in sync with the time zone of the place you are going to.
Coping with jet lag will become easier if you can also sync your meal times with the ones in the overseas place you are travelling to.
Set your watch accordingly
Many times, jet lag and disturbed sleep patterns are more psychological than physical. Maybe it is all in your mind. To see if that is true, try setting your watch to your destination’s time zone. Wait and analyze if the trick is training your mind to think about what tasks you need to accomplish once you reach your destination.
Another great idea that might help you in coping with jet lag is sleeping or staying awake in flight. For instance, if it is going to be a night in your destination, try to sleep for a while in your flight. Do the exact opposite if the sun is still shining in your destination.
But remember, don’t force yourself to sleep if you cannot, and don’t try to keep yourself awake if your eyes are begging you for some rest. If nothing out of the above-mentioned ideas is possible, just ensure that you rest your body and mind as much as possible during the flight.
Arrive a few days in advance
If you are relocating to an overseas destination for higher studies or a new job – it will be a huge mistake if you arrive just a day in advance of starting a new phase in your life. Studies and career will keep you so busy that combined with jet lag, the frustration might drive you to utter exhaustion.
If you are going somewhere to begin or accomplish something important, it is wise to reach the destination at least 15 days in advance, so that your mind and body can get a chance to adjust themselves to the new time zone.
Drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine
Hydration is essential to life. Before, in-flight, and upon arrival, it is must to stay hydrated, as dehydration spells disaster, causing you to lose sleep and feel tired. Gulp down plenty of water wherever and whenever you can.
Also, it is best advised to avoid any form of caffeine or alcohol consumption if you are travelling for long hours and arriving in a different time zone. Caffeine leads to disturbed sleep patterns and extreme dehydration at times.
Coping with jet lag will become a difficult task for you if you do not adhere to these two simple rules.
Melatonin supplements might help
Melatonin is a hormone in our body that regulates and improves our circadian rhythm – thus enabling us in coping with jet lag and helping us doze off easily at the right time. Jet lag is infamous for disrupting your sleep cycle, and making you tired, frustrated and exhausted. No one wants to remember the bad memories from a trip. So consume melatonin supplements.
However, be aware, as science has still not proved anything substantial when it comes to melatonin supplements. In fact, scientific research shows varied results – some applauding the effectiveness of the supplements and some disregarding the same.
For best results, try consuming melatonin supplements almost 2-3 hours before you hit the bed in your destination. And then, try to sleep for 8-10 hours. But be sure to check the side effects of melatonin on your body with the doctor first. Melatonin works differently for everyone.
Treat yourself to a hot shower before bedtime
A hot shower/bath has countless benefits. One of them actually helps you in coping with jet lag. Before you jump on the bed in your destination, go for a hot bath or shower. A hot shower will immediately relieve your sore muscles and help you relax in an infinite manner.
Once your muscles aren’t aching from sitting for hours in that awful flight, or your mind and body are relaxed and calm – you can achieve a good night’s sleep, or at least, rest without any problem for a whole night.
In fact, during a hot bath, your body’s temperature drops, thus making you feel drowsy. The moment you feel sleepy, get out of your bathroom and head to your bed. Close your eyes and sleep peacefully.
Do away with the distractions
Digital distractions hamper our sleep even in the time zones we are used to. So, when it comes to a destination with a different time zone, you can imagine how much trouble will turn up in your paradise.
Coping with jet lag is not an easy task. And if you are going to be on your phone, laptop, or TV screens when it is time to hit the bed, you are going to lose some good sleep. So, avoid distractions while coping with jet lag, stay away from screens during bedtime, and use an eye mask if you must.
Close your curtains and turn the room dark. One of the best ways to cope with jet lag is to mimic the surroundings that you wish to be in.