If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that we're always busy jet-setting in the name of research for our boutique group trips and travel planning.
It's a part of our job that's incredible. But what isn't incredible? That we sometimes get the gnarliest jet lag. And, when that happens, it is usually 100% our fault because we usually broke our jet lag code. As in, we didn't do one or many of the steps we've listed below that all help to prevent jet lag (most of the time).
Why Does Jet Lag Occur?
At the most basic jet lag is a sleep disorder that results in a disturbed sleep-wake cycle and it can happen anytime someone travels across more than two time zones.
What Are The Symptoms Of Jet Lag?
It can be hard to adjust to a new time zone because our internal clock, or circadian rhythm, gets thrown off. That's when you experience those classic jet lag symptoms like fatigue, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, headaches, and irritability.
Is Jet Lag The Same Traveling East And West?
It's said that flying east will result in worse jet lag than when you fly west because your body is better at adapting to staying up late than it is to going to bed earlier.
Who Gets Jet Lag?
Anyone can get jet lag and it is generally worse the farther you travel and the more time zones that you cross.
How To Prevent Jet Lag?
You can't truly prevent jet lag. However, there are a few things that could help you cope better. First, stay as hydrated as possible. Second, avoid caffeine and alcohol which are not only dehydrating but also may mess with your sleep. Finally, move while you're on the plane by getting up about once an hour to stretch and walk.
How To Get Over Jet Lag?
Lavender Essential Oil
We use essential oils for a lot of things, like immunity-boosting, and, though we're not 100% sure they always work, we can say that lavender essential oil helps us tremendously with jet lag. Whether we're trying to get to sleep on the plane or the first few nights in a destination, we put a few drops on our hands, a scarf, or our pillow and just breathe in until we feel relaxed and sleepy. And it has the added benefit of being a motion sickness aid so it can help if you experience turbulence.
Opt For Homeopathic Pills
Sometimes essential oil alone doesn't do the trick so we turn to pills. A lot of people swear by sleeping pills but we try not to touch them (unless it's a mild dose of a sleep aid supplement like melatonin). We swear by No-Jet Lag homeopathic pills. Yes, it could be 100% psychosomatic, every time we've taken them, we've been jet lag-free.
Sleep According To Where You're Headed
Get on the flight, calculate when you should sleep to be on local time, and adjust your sleep patterns accordingly. As in, determine when it's nighttime where you're heading, and do your best to sleep then. Bring along anything that will help you sleep well, like earplugs, eye masks, comfortable clothing, or sleep medicine. Plan everything around that even if that means you sleep through mealtime on the plane.
Resist the urge to eat indulgently on the flight. If you eat a healthy meal with a mix of protein, vegetables, and fruit you’ll sleep better and stay better hydrated.
And Eat According To Your Destination
Speaking of meals, eating on the new time zones meal times helps massively. Even if you're not hungry during that time, do your best to snack on something small to help you acclimate.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Airplane travel is seriously dehydrating so do your best to counteract it. Bring along electrolytes like Noom, Skratch Labs, or Vega Sport to add to your water or you can also drink coconut water to the same effect.
And Limit Alcohol On The Airplane
Some people can hop back and forth between continents like a ping pong ball and have no issue with drinking alcohol on flights. We limit our alcohol to a max of one glass during our travel day to help limit dehydration.
You Can Do One (But Just One!) Nightcap
That said, the first few nights we arrive, we have found that having a nightcap can help us go to bed. Just know that, depending on how many time zones you've crossed, having alcohol could have a reverse effect and make you wired.
Power Nap Only On Arrival
Depending on when you arrive at your destination, it can be a few hours or up to half a day that you need to stay awake. That is when a teeny-tiny power nap (as in less than 30 minutes) works wonders; our favorite thing is to do a coffee nap and then we're good to go for hours.
Get Some Light Exposure
Getting outside during daylight hours can jump-start alertness and the effects of jet lag. That's because sunlight helps your body recognize it is time to be awake and helps your body's clock adjust.
Lightly Work Out Or Walk It Off
When we're not power napping, we're all about walking those first few days. They say to work out but I can't usually muster much more than some walking when we're deliriously jet-lagged. Also, walking around has the added bonus of helping you get your bearings if you've landed in a new city.
Meditate For Mindfulness
As you likely know, meditation helps with everything from better concentration to stress reduction and possibly even jet lag. If you need some help getting started, check out apps like Headspace.
Heading abroad soon? Share your adventures with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!
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