How to prevent Jet Lag sleep issues (or primarily reduce them)? That is a common question among frequent travelers, with or without sleep disorders. Jet lag occurs if you sleep on the plane and even if you take sleeping medications.
The human body was not built for fast, long-distance travel – certainly not for the speed at which you can fly across half of the world today.
One of the ways your body tells you that traveling this far at this speed is something it doesn’t like is jet lag – the complex of unpleasant symptoms you experience after a long-haul flight due East or West.
Jet lag can ruin the first days – perhaps even the first week – of your vacation by affecting your appetite and your ability to sleep, among others.
That’s why we compiled a shortlist of a few science-backed tips to avoid jet lag or perhaps reduce its effects.
Prepare for your Trip
A few days (at least four) before you leave, start to adjust your body to the conditions of your destination.
After all, you want to be healthy and with energy all the time, right?
Shift your sleep schedule to be as close to that of your destination as possible, and adopt a more relaxed routine so your body won’t expect to be fed and relieve itself at fixed times (these routines are pretty hard to break). Your circadian rhythms may sync a bit.
Once there, this will make it easier for you to adapt to the local schedule.
Choose the Right Flight to Avoid Jet Lag Sleep Problems
Arriving at your destination at the right time will help you adjust to its schedule easier. If you are flying East, you will jump ahead in time, and if you travel West, you’ll bounce back.
If you leave New York for Athens at 7 AM, for example, you’ll fly for around nine hours, and arrive at your destination at around 11 PM local time – but your body will feel like it’s early in the afternoon.
The further East you go, the more significant the difference between your body’s clock and the actual time will be, making it harder for you to adjust as you go through a good number of time zones.
Choosing the right time to leave is crucial in reducing the effects of jet lag.
Arriving in the morning (if you travel West) and not sleeping until sundown or arriving at night (if you travel East) and going to sleep as soon as you help your body pick up the pace faster.
This device can help you sleep better, by the way.
Prevent Jet Lag Sleep Issues: Stay away from coffee, alcohol, and drugs
Long-haul flights are bad enough – and coffee, alcohol, and sleeping pills can only make it worse.
Using these while you fly will make you dehydrated and tired – and they won’t make getting rid of jet lag any easier.
Instead, make sure to stay hydrated and only sleep when you need to.
The Sun is your Friend Against Jet Lag
Last but not least, let’s not forget the role of melatonin (the so-called “sleep hormone”) in regulating your sleep schedule.
The production of melatonin is lower when you are exposed to sunlight, making it easier for you to stay awake, and higher when it’s dark, telling your body that it’s time to sleep.
So, to make it easier for your body to adjust to the local time when you arrive, try to spend as much time outside as possible (even if you take a nap, make it short) and going to bed at a reasonable time.
Do this for a couple of days to help your body adapt and reduce the effects jet lag has on you. It is essential to be able to recognize the symptoms, of course.
Do you have your tips to prevent jet lag or any tricks to reduce it? Feel free to share them.