Beating jet lag isn’t that hard. Really. But unfortunately I’ve seen it consume the time, energy, and money of too many travelers. (No, melatonin doesn’t work.)
My first time crossing the ocean, and several time zones, was a disaster. I started dating my future husband on the overseas flight, and the resulting talking and flirting meant I didn’t do what I was supposed to be doing…. sleeping. The result was a week of exhaustion that left me physically sick. I couldn’t sleep when I was supposed to sleep, and couldn’t eat when I was supposed to eat. I was vomiting. My immune system was pissed, and I caught one of the worst colds of my life. Like most people, I did everything wrong. But now I know better.
Here’s what most people do: They get on the plane, excited to finally be traveling, and watch movies or play games. They drink beer and wine. They don’t sleep.
Then when the plane lands, they look what time it is “at home”.
By late afternoon the excitement has worn down, and they’re tired. So they go to the hotel for a nap. Danger!!!
The next morning, when it’s difficult to get out of bed, they obliviously continue to sleep. Danger, danger!!!
The secret to beating jet lag is this: It’s all in your head.
Hear me out.
When you board the long flight, mentally shift in your head out of your old time zone. It’s gone. Never think of it again.
On the plane, sleep when the lights are out, eat when the food shows up, and drink plenty of water.
When the plane doors open to your new location, it’s a new time and place. Hit the ground running!
Did I say never think of what time it is back home?
The first day or two try as hard as you can to stay up to your normal bed time (in your new time zone). And no matter how much you want to hit the snooze button, don’t! Get your ass out of bed, take a shower, and get outside.
Stick to a normal eating schedule, and drink plenty of water. Be active, outside if possible, to expose yourself to natural sunlight.
The power to beat jet lag is all in your head. Now that I understand this basic principle, I can cross a dozen time zones with almost no effects. So can you.
What do you think? What strategies do you use to beat jet lag? Leave them in the comments!