Jet lag occurs when you travel quickly across time zones and your body’s usual rhythm falls out of sync. It usually lasts just a short time. Your body will eventually adjust to its new time zone, but there are ways you can try to get yourself on a new schedule more quickly and reduce jet lag symptoms.
Jet lag is a very common occurrence, and there are several ways you can try to make the transition to a new time zone more quickly and with fewer symptoms. Remember that your body will eventually adjust to the new time zone, but if you’re on a quick trip or are required to be highly functional quickly after your flight, these tips may be useful.
Adapt quickly to your new time zone
When you arrive at your destination, try to forget your old time zone as quickly as possible. Your technology will likely update clocks automatically, but if you have a manually set watch or travel clock, set those to the new time as soon as you depart.
You’ll have trouble at your destination if you continue to eat and sleep according to the old time zone. Eat meals and go to bed according to the time at your destination.
Manage sleep time
Make sure you sleep when it’s most appropriate to your new schedule. Your flight may be in the air during your destination’s nighttime, so try to log some sleep while airborne. A few things that’ll help you rest include:
comfortable travel pillows and blankets
You should also avoid the urge to nap when you arrive if it’s daytime. This can make it difficult to sleep later on.
Long-distance travel may cause dehydration, and you may even reduce water consumption during travel to avoid bathroom breaks. Think again about this choice. Proper hydration may help manage jet lag symptoms and travel fatigue.
Carry an empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up once you’re in the terminal. You can also purchase water in the terminal or request it in flight. Continue to drink plenty of water upon your arrival.
Jet lag interrupts your internal clock in part because your exposure to light changes when you travel and change time zones.
Getting outside in the sunshine can wake up your body and reduce the release of melatonin hormones that make you sleepy.
Exposing yourself to morning light will help if you need to wake up and function earlier when you travel east. Getting more light at night can be useful if you need to stay up later in your new time zone when you travel west.
You can also use a special lamp to expose yourself to light. The types of lights that may help decrease your jet lag can be in the form of a lamp, a light box, or even headgear. You may find these types of lights also advertised for seasonal affective disorder.