Getting Over Jet Lag – tentree

Getting Over Jet Lag

Jet lag is the bane of any travel addict’s existence. There’s nothing worse than the excitement of touching down in a new destination, only to have insomnia, grumpiness and stomach pain lurking just around the corner.

Unfortunately, jet lag is just part and parcel of traveling quickly across two or more time zones. The more time zones, the worse it is – and if I may be candid, it also seems like the older I get the more days it takes for me to personally spring back to life.

Jet lag can take anywhere from six to nine days to recover. There are diets and medication that claim to go after these nasty symptoms head on, but both these options can end up being just another nuisance. So here are a few easy (and natural) steps for preventing the misery that is jet lag:

• Know east and west. The direction you’re traveling in truly says a lot about how you’re going to feel. Jet lag is generally worse when “losing time” traveling west to east. Therefore, when traveling east it helps to move your bedtime progressively earlier in the days before lift-off. You can do the opposite (staying up later) when heading west.

• Drink lots of water. We all love the free booze on long-haul flights, but getting tipsy is just about the worst thing you could do when it comes to traveling over time zones. Alcohol and caffeine both disrupt sleep, causing dehydration and restlessness that can make jet lag even more difficult to overcome.

• Light is your frenemy. Depending on whether you’re flying east or west, the sun’s natural rays can either help or hinder a smooth transition. When moving westward, get morning light and stay in the shadows during the afternoon (and vice versa going east). Your internal clock will start to shift accordingly.

• When in doubt, wear sunglasses or an eye mask. If being inside or outside is beyond your control, shades and/or an eye mask for sleeping will provide a middle ground, helping to reduce general sensitivity to light exposure.

• Stopovers help. Perhaps the only reason ever to be thankful for a connecting flight. Stopovers are a much-needed reprieve for the body, helping your circadian rhythm (or biological 24-hour clock) to gradually adjust.

• Activities are key. If you’re trying to stay up, a little exercise goes along way. When looking to fall asleep, try a bath or sauna sesh. No matter what, make sure to get at least four hours of sleep at night. That is the best base for your body to build on to slowly but surely get back to normal.

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