Picture this: You’re finally embarking on that perfect vacation you spent months planning and maybe even years dreaming about. You step off the airplane and breathe in the sights and sounds – you can’t believe you’re actually there. You spend the entire day exploring and wolfing down local dishes; when evening hits, you start to feel tired. So you head back to your hotel and look forward to a good night’s sleep… that’s when it hits you.
Suddenly, you’re red-eyed and ridiculously wide awake in the middle of the night. You can barely keep your head up come breakfast; you’re a zombie shuffling around from shop to shop, more concerned about crawling into bed than your surroundings. And as soon as you adjust to the time difference, you’re almost due to go home. What a waste.
You can blame your internal clock or your lousy eating and sleeping patterns, or you could avoid the dreaded jet lag altogether with a few simple steps of forward planning.
Here are 10 easy ways to beat jet lag.
#1 If you’re booking a long-haul flight and you don’t mind ‘sacrificing’ daytime to arrive in the evening, then do it. You’re more prone to fall asleep quickly after hours of exhausting travel, and this gives you a good start in adapting to your new time zone.
#2 Consider choosing a flight with a stopover (these are usually cheaper, too). That way, your body gets more time to adjust.
#3 Try to make subtle, gradual changes to your schedule a few days before – like waking up and going to bed earlier or later, depending on the time at your destination – if possible.
DURING THE FLIGHT:
#4 Don’t pig out on the day of travel. Load up on healthy, light meals and water. Avoid alcohol – which will only make you dehydrated and tired – and even caffeine, unless you’re one of those who turns into a raging monster without it.
#5 Set your watch (or any other devices you regularly check) to the time at your destination, so that you’re mentally prepared when you land.
#6 Keep it moving – walk along the aisles instead of sitting down the entire flight. Or if you feel self-conscious, at least do little stretching exercises in your seat so your blood keeps circulating.
#7 Don’t make the mistake of planning a crazy, rushed schedule for your first day – give yourself a day or two to get used to the time difference before going all out.
#8 Eat your regular daily meals in line with the time zone at your destination.
#9 Soak up as much daylight as you can – the sun’s rays can make you feel better, especially in the morning.
#10 Pack a vial of lavender essential oil and dab a few drops around your bed – lavender can act as a mild sedative and relax you with its scent.
About the writer:
Alicia Lee is a dessert junkie with a serious (and probably incurable) case of wanderlust. Never one to pass up on retail therapy, she loves a great bargain and can usually be spotted on weekends browsing through quirky shops or chillaxing at a quiet cafe.