We know, we know – you’ve got no time for jet lag. (Who does???) Problem is, when international traveling for business is part of your job description, it’s unavoidable. Here are some tips and tricks to tame the jet lag beast. You’ll want to adjust to what works best for you.
1 Take the later flight
If it’s at all possible to fly on the red eye, do it. Jet lag occurs because our circadian rhythm is thrown off. Every living thing has a system—a rhythm, if you will—that it likes and is accustomed to, affected by and reactionary to factors like light and temperature. That’s why you feel so extra awful when your body is exhausted, but it’s high-noon and blazing sunlight. Think of your body as a clock that you’ll need to essentially trick into staying on course. A later flight, where you force yourself to sleep, can possibly make the adjustment a lot less unpleasant.
2 Drink Tons of Water
A 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study revealed the affect air cabin pressure had on lowering oxygen in the blood, making travelers inadvertently dehydrated. We could tell you to “stay hydrated” like everyone else does, but the truth is, there’s nothing that can take the place of good old fashioned H2O. Certain other fluids—like sugary drinks and alcohol—will have an adverse effect, and you’ll be sorry for them later, in the hydration department anyway. Consider bringing a water bottle with its own built-in filtration, to be sure you’ll getting the purest available, wherever you are.
3 Stay Awake
If the red eye isn’t an option, then you may want to consider staying up as late as possible when you arrive, to try and get back on your body’s normal cycle. Yes, there’s a good chance you’ll be tripping-over-yourself exhausted. Yes, you may very well need a generous rest, and whether you do or not completely depends on what time you arrive to your destination. If you arrive in the morning, you might allow yourself a short nap. They key word here is “short” — don’t make the mistake of getting a full night’s sleep starting at 9:00AM. How many people have their most important meetings at midnight? Unless you’re on business at a vampire convention, you’ll want to stay up as long as you can. And if you are on a business trip to a vampire convention, who are we to tell you about circadian rhythms!
4 Pack Your Sleeping Essentials
The gigantic disclaimer here is, consult your doctor before taking any kind of sleep-inducing medication, including melatonin, the over-the-counter hormone which is known to help many people sleep when their body isn’t naturally ready. However, melatonin isn’t the only thing you’ll need to pack. You’re likely either on a plane or in a sunny hotel room, so be sure to bring earphones or earplugs, eye mask, aromatherapy sprays (we like lavender and mint), a neck pillow (possibly one you can blow up yourself, if it’s going in your all-inclusive carry-on) and be sure to download some soft music on your phone. It sounds like a lot of stuff, but if you plan ahead you can get just the right small sizes of everything to leave in a sleep kit that lives permanently in your travel bag.
5 Get Personal
Everyone handles jet lag differently, but since there’s so much help out there, there’s simply no reason to suffer. It’s worth investigating the right solution for you. Did you know you can purchase light boxes which simulate the kind of light you’ll need for your specific rhythm? Some believe eating habits, specifically avoiding food on flights all together (not just the execrable plane meals) help keep the body better adjusted.
You’ll want to speak with a specialist first on all counts, to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good. Investing in your own well-being is always the best investment, after all.