You’re in a new city, ready to explore - and then it hits you. Suddenly everything is tiring and irritating - a side effect known as jet lag, and something that frequent travelers know all too well. It’s basically when our internal clock (known as the circadian rhythm) isn’t in sync with our external clock. It causes problems such as fatigue, moodiness, difficulty concentrating and even stomach problems - problems, which frankly, we don’t have time for when traveling. Whether you’re adventuring on new terrain or you need to ace a work presentation, it’s important your body is fully functioning so, before your next trip, use these pre-flight tips to fight it fast.
Set Your Internal Clock
Probably the easiest jet-lag hack which many of us forget to do is adjusting our clocks to the time zone of our destination. Flying east? Sleep one hour earlier for several days. Flying west? Stay up one hour later! You can change the time on your watch as soon as you board the plane, or alternatively, use the world clock on your phone to familiarize yourself with your new time zone.
Drink Your 8 Glasses Of Water
A lot of people fail to realize that hydration is key to keep your energy levels up, particularly when flying. For every hour you’re in the air, be sure to drink at least eight ounces of water. Bring your own water bottle and refill it after security to help avoid dehydration. For extra moisture, bring a lip balm and lotion as well.
Choose Your Flights Wisely
Try to choose overnight flights that land the morning hours of your destination. That way, you land rested and you’re more likely to eat at normal times. To help you sleep on the plane, bring ear plugs and a sleeping mask to alleviate the constant interruptions. If you’re traveling far, stopping for layovers is not only more cost effective, but can make it easier to adjust as it takes between half a day to two days to adapt to each time zone.
Limit Coffee and Alcohol
Boring, right? But it can help with jet lag in the long run. For 12 hours before your flight, as well as during the flight, you should avoid coffee. Although it can help keep you awake, you’ll wake up more often once you fall asleep. As for alcohol, you don’t need its help to make you dehydrated. Limit your intake and drink plenty of water if you do end up treating yourself. But bear in mind that one drink in the air equals two or three on the ground.
Avoid Exercising Before Your Flight
Although jet lag will be easier to overcome if you’re healthy, you should try to avoid exercise prior to flying. Since the air pressure is lower in the cabin than it is at sea level, you may experience Hypoxia. This is when there isn’t enough oxygen reaching your blood stream and organs and can cause dizziness and headaches. Refraining from your daily cardio blast will help your breath easier during the flight. But don’t worry, it’s more fun to run in a new city anyways!
Fast So You Can Last
Fasting in the new craze to help beat jet lag. For the best results, fast for 16 hours before your plane touches down. Self-depriving supposedly allows you to readjust a lot quicker and at your own will. Refraining from pigging out until the next appropriate meal time will trick your brain and make your stomach happy. According to Clifford B. Saper, head of Beth Israel’s department of neurology, “Water doesn’t cause the clock to readjust, calories do.” So, catch up on your Netflix and sleep while flying instead of eating out of boredom. Your body will thank you later!