Traveling to a new part of the world is incredibly exciting and once you arrive it's only natural to want to get out and explore as soon as possible. When you are in the midst of foggy exhaustion, "how to beat jetlag" is likely to be higher on your list of concerns than how to get to the nearest tourist spot.
However, if you've been traveling across several time zones you may find that your mind and body struggle to get in sync with your surroundings and you spend the first day or so of your vacation struggling with jetlag strain and feeling extremely tired.
Happily, there are some steps you can take to battle the effects of jetlag and help your internal clock to adjust to the disruption of your circadian rhythms. These steps are deceptively simple but can have a massive effect in helping to reduce jet lag once you arrive at your dream vacation location!
Of course, we are all different and various steps may be more effective for some people than others. But by planning ahead of time to beat jet lag, you should find that the disruptive effects of long haul flights have less of an effect in the future.
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What Causes Jet Lag?
Jet Lag occurs whenever you travel across time zones when on a long flight. Your sleep and wake cycle (your circadian rhythms) can be disturbed as you try to adjust to the new time when you arrive. When you have jet lag you may find you experience sleep problems, feel exhaustion and have a foggy, unfocused mind until you adjust to the daily schedule of your vacation destination.
What are the Symptoms of Jet Lag?
There are a variety of different ways jet lag can effects your sleep patterns and how you feel after crossing time zones. The symptoms of jetlag strain include:
- Feeling exhausted mentally and/or physically.
- Finding it hard to fall asleep at night.
- Feeling extremely sleepy during the day.
- Experiencing poor quality of sleep when you manage to doze.
- Waking up in the early hours of the morning and being unable to fall back to sleep.
- Having a fuzzy, foggy feeling and finding it hard to concentrate or remember things.
- Sleep is essential if you are going to feel your best during your vacation, so you will need to take some steps to work out how to beat JetLag before you leave.
How Long Does Jet Lag Last?
If you experience jet lag when you arrive at a destination, your first thought (other than where is the nearest bed!), is likely to be "How Long Does Jet Lag last?". The answer will depend upon several varying factors. These include:
- How far you have traveled and how many time zones you have crossed?
- Your established circadian rhythms and how easy you find falling asleep normally.
- Your current overall physical and mental health.
Most people will find that their jet lag starts to disappear after a few days, although some people can experience symptoms for up to a week after traveling.
As you can see the answer to "How Long Does Jet Lag Last" will depend upon several different factors. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to avoid jetlag strain, so you can start exploring the exciting sights and sounds soon after you arrive at your destination.
Top 5 Tips on How To Beat Jet Lag
Try to Book a Flight Time to Minimize Disruption to Your Sleep Schedule
Whether you have traveled west or east, booking a flight and arrival time that lessens any disruption to your regular schedule will help you to start adjusting to your time zone as soon as possible.
If you are traveling east, you should try to book an early morning flight, so you will have the whole day to stay awake and adjust to your new daytime. If you are flying west then booking a nighttime flight can help you to ease into your new timezone when you arrive at your destination.
Work On Your Health and Sleep Habits Before You Leave
If you already struggle with maintaining your sleep patterns and feeling tired throughout the day, take the opportunity to improve your sleep habits before you leave. This should make it easier to adjust your sleep while you are abroad.
So, make sure that you get in the habit of drinking water during the day to help you feel less groggy, and do some physical exercise throughout the day to tire you out before bedtime. Other tips include switching off all screens an hour before bed and creating a set bedtime you stick to every night.
Start Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule Before Your Flight
Before you leave you can start adjusting your established sleep schedule incrementally so your body becomes used to an earlier or later bedtime. Even if you don't manage to match up with your new sleep schedule exactly before you leave, adjusting your sleep by two or three hours can help to lessen the symptoms of jetlag strain when you arrive.
Make Sure to Get a Good Night's Sleep The Night Before
One of the best ways to make sure that you can stay awake in the daytime hours of your destination is to make sure that you are well rested and energized before you leave. Make sure that you are organized with your packing and know where your passport is so you don't have a stressful night before your flight looking for last-minute items in the early hours.
Avoid Napping On Your First Day If Possible
Once you arrive at your location, you should try to stay awake during the daytime hours if at all possible. Not only will you avoid losing a day of your vacation to sleep, but you'll also be much more likely to adjust to your new sleep schedule quickly.
If you are absolutely exhausted you can allow yourself a cat nap of between twenty to thirty minutes, but don't let it stretch into several hours. You'll find it harder to sleep at night and will spend the second day of your trip feeling just as exhausted.
Summary: How To Beat Jetlag - 5 Easy Tips
Jet lag strain and symptoms can all too easily ruin the first few days of your vacation if you don't take steps to beat jetlag. Thankfully, there are some simple and easy-to-implement steps you can take to battle jet lag strain both before you leave and once you arrive.
In taking the steps above, you will find that there are some very effective solutions for how to beat jet lag the next time you travel.
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