Flying to another part of the world is an exciting and hectic adventure all on its own, but jet lag often adds an extra wrinkle to your air travel experience. When you venture far from your native time zone, your body can have a pretty hard time adjusting. Sometimes jet lag can have a dire impact on your trip.
While there’s no surefire way to completely eliminate jet lag — your body’s internal clock is too well-programmed for that — there are certainly a few things that you can do to mitigate its effects.
After all, removal from your typical time zone isn’t the only thing that can throw you off. The following easy tips will help you mitigate some of the stress and anxiety that makes it tough to sleep when you’re flying to a brand new place.
Tip #1. Make a Routine, Stick to It
Many of us already have a nightly routine, but it’s not typically something to which we adhere when we’re out on vacation. It can be very easy to forget about the things that you do and the order in which you do them when you’re traveling. If you can be extra precise about your nightly routine, however, you’ll do yourself a serious favor the next time you take a big trip.
Try establishing a routine that you go through every single night before you sleep. It doesn’t matter what your routine involves; all that matters is that you repeat it in exactly the same way, every single night.
The next time you fly to another time zone, make sure you include your pre-bed rituals. This will help to prepare your body and your mind for sleep the next time you’re on your trip.
This piece of advice comes from Los Angeles-based Dr. Murray Grossan:
“He recommends sticking to these strict patterns so that when you’re traveling it’s easier to trigger your ‘sleep clock’ right before bedtime.”
Tip #2. Drink a Lot of Water
It’s important to make sure that you stay hydrated for a number of reasons, but you might never have guessed that getting to sleep was one of them.
Believe it or not, making sure that you’ve got enough water in your system can really help to reduce some of jet lag’s negative effects. This is especially important if you’ve taken your trip on a plane: air travel can dehydrate you to a pretty significant degree.
Another great way to stay hydrated is by limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol. These substances don’t do your body any favors when it comes to water retention.
Tip #3. Eat Normal Things
Vacation is a time for cutting loose, there’s no arguing that. If jet lag is a serious problem, though, you might want to think about reigning in the things you eat when you’re on your next big trip.
It’s all too easy for travelers to let themselves go nuts when it comes to food, but if you make sure that you practice a little self-control, you’ll likely have a much easier time getting to sleep at night.
Try eating things that are healthy and high in protein to help yourself feel awake and alert, and avoid skipping breakfast so that you can make the most out of your day.
Tip #4. Bring Your Living Space with You
Obviously you’re not going to bring your entire living space on vacation with you, but bringing a long a few bits and pieces from your bedroom can help you have an easier time sleeping on the road.
This tip works great with anything from a familiar pillow to something that simply smells like home.
Recreating your most comfortable environment will help both your body and mind get relaxed when it comes time for you to start decompressing and going to sleep.
Tip #5. Give Yourself Dedicated Wind-Down Time
Vacation, by its very definition, is almost required to be a ton of fun. It’s easy to get yourself a little wound up when you’re on an exciting trip. If you’re having trouble sleeping, however, some dedicated decompression time before bed might help you out in a big way.
Take it easy for a half hour or so, and clear your mind before you go to bed. Vacations can sometimes be stressful, so try to forget about everything for a little bit before bed. Give your brain some peace and quiet before you try to sleep.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of these tips involve making sure that you stay healthy and do everything you can to eliminate stress.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, making sure that you get enough sleep is vital. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to see the sights or wow everyone at a presentation in the morning: getting a good amount of rest is incredibly important.
Tell us, how do you go about beating back jet lag when you travel? Let us know in the comments!