Jet lag is a common occurrence for travelers taking long flights, and can be a large nuisance on a trip. It causes a range of symptoms, from fatigue and an inability to concentrate to headaches and difficulty sleeping. Jet lag can spoil a trip if not handled properly.
Standard thinking dictates it takes travelers one full day for every time zone they cross to fully recover from jet lag. For example, a flight from Toronto to Paris crosses 6 time zones. For those flying across the ocean, spending a full week or more recovering from it does not sound pleasant. If you are traveling soon and worry about the potential side effects, follow our four tips on how to beat jet leg:
Pick the Right Flight
Arrival time is important when combating jet lag. When possible, select a flight that arrives at the destination in the early evening, and stay awake until 10 p.m. This will help regulate your body’s sleep schedule and adjust it to the local time.
If you absolutely cannot stay awake and must take a nap during the day, try to take a short nap in the early afternoon, no longer than two hours. Make sure to set an alarm so that you do not oversleep. Sleeping for a long time during midday is an easy way to worsen your jet lag.
Avoid Stimulants Before Bed
Do not ingest any caffeine or alcohol for at least three to four hours before bedtime. Even if you are feeling tired and believe caffeine will keep you going, it may prevent you from sleeping at an appropriate hour, and will further complicate your sleep schedule while adjusting to jet lag.
Get out into the sunshine as much as possible when you arrive at your destination. Daylight is a powerful force when regulating your body’s biological clock, and will help your body naturally adjust to the time difference. Staying indoors too much will worsen your jet lag, as your biological clock will be unable to adjust properly.
Start Adjusting Early
One of the best ways to combat jet lag is to take a proactive approach, and begin adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before you fly. When flying east, try going to bed an hour earlier, and when flying west an hour later. This will shorten your body’s adjustment period, and help you to overcome jet lag.
For more advice on beating jet lag, visit http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml