What Is the Quickest Way to Get Over Jet Lag?
Jet lag can make you feel as if you’ve been awake for 36 hours straight. Even if you slept on the plane you still end up feeling very tired, irritable and sleepy.
And it gets worse if you fly eastwards, as medical experts agree that the jet lag is worse than when flying westwards.
This is because flying eastwards is like time travelling to the future, in that you gain a couple of hours.
Even though flying eastward does not affect your body’s functions, it causes your internal clock (circadian rhythm) to play catch-up, leaving your body disoriented.
But despite all that, there are three tips you can use to overcome jet lag and enjoy your travel adventures more.
I. Pre-travel Preparation
Before you board a plane, you should simulate your new schedule.
What do we mean by this?
For instance, if you plan to travel to São Miguel–an Azores Island in Portugal–from Vancouver, Canada, you will gain 7 hours.
Why? São Miguel Island is UTC+01:00, which is 7 hours ahead of Vancouver, Canada.
So, when it is 9 AM on Friday in Vancouver, it is 2 PM on Saturday in São Miguel Island.
This will throw off your internal clock, causing a severe case of jet lag. And you don’t want to waste two days in bed when you could be taking in the sights of São Miguel.
As a result here’s what you can do to train your body to adjust to your new schedule before you arrive at your destination when traveling east.
- Gradually shift your bedtime earlier by about 30 minutes to one hour each night before you fly east.
- Get extra sleep a few nights before you travel. So, if you usually sleep for 6 hours, aim for 8 or more hours a week before travelling.
- Add in some workouts before bed to sleep better before travelling. A study by the Journal of Biological Rhythms discovered that exercising before sleep leads to more secretion of melatonin which helps you sleep better.
2. Take Melatonin and Stay Hydrated
Andrew Herxheimer and Keith J. Petrie carried out a study on the effectiveness of melatonin in reducing jet lag.
They discovered that eight of the nine successful trials found that melatonin helped with reducing jet lag from flights crossing five or more time zones when taken close to the intended bedtime (10 PM to midnight) at the destination.
However for melatonin to be effective, the table below shows the recommended dosage.
|Melatonin Dosage Guidelines
|Pregnant or Breastfeeding women
|Consult a doctor before use
|Consult a pediatrician before giving melatonin to children
Additionally, stay hydrated to help your body function optimally.
Remember dehydration symptoms sometimes play off as jet lag where you feel fatigued, irritable, with a persistent headache and sleepy.
So, hydrate before, during and after travelling to counteract the dry cabin air and potential fluid loss.
3. Get Some Vitamin D Exposure From Sunlight
Contrary to popular belief, exposure to sunlight in the morning or evening does not worsen jet lag.
What it does is fix jet lag.
As we mentioned earlier, your body comes with an internal clock. This is why you are most likely to feel sleepy when your sleeping time is near.
So, when you expose yourself to natural light, especially in the morning when you travel, your inner clock can recognize the time change.
As a result, you can stay awake, feel refreshed and prevent jet lag.
Keep Jet Lag at Bay by Planning Ahead
Next time you are travelling, you do not have to let jet lag steal away your precious time.
Or even make you irritable to where your friend or loved ones (if you travelled with them) find your presence very draining, ruining your entire trip. Remember that you had a reason for travelling, whether for work or pleasure.
So plan ahead and arm yourself with more information to make your travel easier and more enjoyable by checking out our travelling tips & tricks section.
Furthermore, wherever your wanderlust may take you, we have carefully chosen the appropriate accessories to make your trip worthwhile.