If you've traveled long distance -- especially internationally -- then you've probably experienced jet lag. What's jet lag? It's a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when your natural circadian rhythm is disrupted, such as by traveling across several time zones. Want to beat jet lag on your next trip? Here are nine expert tips:

1. Start well rested

1. Start well rested

Whatever you do, you don't want to begin your journey exhausted, which can prolong jet lag. Instead, make sure you're well rested before your flight. This will allow your body to settle into a proper sleep cycle once you arrive at your destination.

2. Adjust to local time at the start of your flight

2. Adjust to local time at the start of your flight

Most people adjust to the local time at their destination when they arrive, but you should adjust to local time at the beginning of your flight. Then start adjusting your rhythms to that time -- for instance, if it's 5 pm local time, then eat your most substantial meal of the day to simulate eating dinner. By the time you arrive at your destination, your body will have begun the process of adjusting to a different rhythm, minimizing jet lag.

3. Continue following your sleep routine

3. Continue following your sleep routine

Following your typical sleep routine is key to getting quality sleep while flying. This means you should go through your nightly routines as you would at home, such as washing your face, brushing your teeth, and putting on white noise.

4. Get as cozy as you can

4. Get as cozy as you can

Sleeping on a plane is very uncomfortable, but investing in some creature comforts can help you get cozy. Some items you should purchase include a blanket, neck pillow, sleep mask, earplugs, compression socks, and noise-canceling headphones.

5. Use natural sleep aids

5. Use natural sleep aids

Prescription sleep aids can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented. But, natural sleep aids can help you fall and stay asleep without adverse side effects. You should consider buying melatonin and chamomile tea.

6. Drink water

6. Drink water

Staying hydrated is essential when it comes to minimizing jet lag. Airplane environments typically have less humidity and oxygen, which can dry you out. To prevent this from happening, drink water at regular intervals.

7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

7. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, meaning they dehydrate you. What's more, both disrupt your sleep cycle. Whatever you do, avoid caffeine and alcohol while traveling.

8. Move around

8. Move around

Don't forget to get up and move around the plane at regular intervals to increase circulation in your body and minimize jet lag. Every waking hour, you should walk around the cabin for five minutes.

9. Don't sleep when you arrive

9. Don't sleep when you arrive

Once you arrive at your destination, it might be tempting to sleep right away, but don't. This will only worsen your jet lag. Instead, continue staying up until the time you'd typically go to bed.

Bon Voyage_

Bon Voyage!

While the worst part of traveling internationally is dealing with jet lag, you can easily minimize its severity. The key is to start adjusting to local time right when you take off, make yourself as comfortable as possible on the airplane, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and stay up once you arrive at your destination.

References
  1. "11 Expert Tips to Beat Jet Lag Fast and Sleep Like a Champ," SomnLabs, August 9, 2018.
  2. "Beating Jet Lag," Forbes, April 8, 2014.

wellness | health | travel | jet lag