QUICKSTART GUIDE: How to Combat Jet Lag
Ah, yes: the eternal struggle of a frequent long-distance traveler is the persistent jet lag with each trip. While these big trips—either for work or play—typically warrant a packed schedule, all you want to do when you land is sleep off the exhaustion of your long plane ride. Fighting through jet lag, though, is essential to having productive days and getting better sleep the rest of the trip. In this quickstart guide, we’ll explore the causes, effects, and remedies of this draining condition so you can combat jet lag with ease on your next trip.
What Causes Jet Lag?
When you travel to a distant time zone, your internal clock needs time to adjust. Your circadian rhythm regulates when you wake up and fall asleep through the release of melatonin. This natural hormone makes you tired when it’s time for bed. Factors like light exposure, mealtimes, social engagement, and activities dictate when your body decides to invoke it. When you cross three time zones or more during your travels, you disrupt this internal routine, which can leave you drowsy during the day and wide awake at night. Jet lag can also affect your eating patterns, resulting in inconvenient strikes of hunger and unsatisfying meals. The general impact of jet lag on the ability to complete everyday tasks can be grim, as the Mayo Clinic finds, jet lag can contribute to issues with concentration and general functionality.
Ways to Combat Jet Lag
Fret not, for there are several tangible ways to reduce the symptoms of jet lag. By being deliberate in taking certain preventative measures, you can put yourself in a far better position upon stepping foot in your new destination.
Start on the Plane
The second you settle in on the plane, start adjusting your routine. Set your watch to the new time zone, try to eat at appropriate times, and sleep when the sun sets at your destination. The window shades will be particularly helpful during the flight, as they will block the sun to simulate darkness for better sleep at any time of day.
For particularly long flights, it’s essential to make yourself as comfortable as possible to facilitate sleep. Wear comfortable clothes that you can layer based on how hot or cold the cabin becomes during flight. Warm socks are a crucial component of your travel wardrobe, as is a sleep mask or earplugs to detach you from your environment. To send you off to sleep, also pack a natural sleep aid, like DREAMit, which has sublingual application for a fast-acting melatonin boost.
Get Some Sun
While it usually is beneficial to listen to your body for your health’s sake, give your circadian rhythm some tough love to combat jet lag. Once you arrive, try to resist the urge to crawl into bed at your hotel. Instead, spend as much time in the sun as you can. Sunlight will help keep you awake, and spending time outdoors will allude to being physically active during the day. Take the time to explore the sites and experience the destination so that your body will be ready for better sleep come bedtime.
Avoid Caffeine At All Costs
When you have jet lag exhaustion, the first thing you want to reach for is a cup of coffee. Throwing caffeine into the mix, however, will only make you crash unnecessarily. To boost energy, drink plenty of water, and have filling, energizing meals throughout the day to fuel your body.
Establish Healthy Habits for Your Nighttime Routine
When it’s time for bed, set yourself up for better sleep. Avoid heavy exercise or caffeine up to three hours before bed, as it can keep you awake. If possible, take a hot bath to relax your mind and body. The drop in body temperature when you get out is also known to make you sleepy. Draw the curtains in your room to eliminate any external light, and avoid any electronics that have a sleep-disrupting blue light.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, have a melatonin supplement like DREAMit from itSpray come into play to help your body naturally get some rest. For more information about our full line of vitamin supplements, give us a call today at 813-856-5350.