Jet lag is the general sense of fatigue that often comes with air travel. It’s the result of your body’s circadian rhythms being out of sync with the different biological clock of your destination.
If you travel east, you may find yourself staying up too late and feeling sluggish in the morning. Travel west, and you might find yourself bounding out of bed much earlier than you want but exhausted by dinner. Even if you stay in the same time zone but travel north or south a significant distance during the extreme months of winter or summer, the sun will rise and set at much different times than your body is accustomed to. Cursed jet lag!
Schedule Your Flight Strategically
If possible, book a red eye flight where you can sleep for most of the journey, or schedule your arrival time late, so you can get a good night’s sleep. If you can’t do either of those, book your flight to arrive a day in advance of an important meeting. The best cure for jet lag is a good sleep. There’s no way around it.
Adjust Your Sleeping and Eating Schedule Ahead of Time
In the days ahead of your trip, adjust your sleep schedule by one hour per day per time zone through which you’ll be travelling. There are jet lag calculators available on-line to help you determine how much adjustment your sleep schedule will need. If necessary, use melatonin at night to force yourself to sleep earlier than usual. You might even adjust your eating schedule to match the breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule of your new destination.
Take Good Care of Yourself Before a Long Trip
Use your common sense and attend to your health before you travel. For example, traveling with a hangover is a bad way to begin a vacation. Eat well, exercise, and use common sense. For example, pack ahead of time, so you don’t have unneeded worries while trying to sleep on the red eye flight.
Keep the Sleeping Schedule of Your Destination Once You Arrive
Though you may be tired, it’s very important to force yourself to go to bed and wake up according to the schedule of your new destination. The first day will be the hardest!
Meet the Sunshine!
There is nothing like the sun to help reset your circadian rhythm. Get outside and enjoy your new destinations, and soon enough, the fatigue will dissipate, and you’ll be enjoying the sights and sounds of your destination.