Dealing with jet lag can be a real struggle, but these hints and tips should help you get over it much more quickly so you can enjoy travel more. It’s so important to enjoy your journey as well as the actual trip, and if you are feeling jet lagged it can really be a drag.
Everyone who travels by air can be affected by jet lag
Remember, it’s really only in the last two generations that we have travelled so far so quickly. My grandparents crossed the ocean by ship, travelling more slowly and adapting to the time change day by day. Our physiology is still getting used to the effects of travelling across time zones in hours rather than days.
My family and I travel so much that most of the time I am able to escape any serious issues by remembering my own tips on how to avoid jet lag. However, recently we were away for a month and there were three time changes during the trip. I had followed all my own rules, but somehow, the length of time we were away and the length of the flight combined to kick my butt. The first day after we got home was fine, but by the second, I felt utterly rubbish.
Luckily, this was a great opportunity to find ways to feel better, just in case you too somehow end up jet lagged despite following all the best tips.
My top tips for dealing with jet lag
Get some gentle exercise
You know that moment when you feel like you really are going to fall asleep at your desk? A brisk walk, preferably in the daylight, can really help to re-energise. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but if you turn to exercise before you explore the option of caffeine or a nap, you really will feel better.
When you are dealing with jet lag, it probably isn’t the time to hit the gym for a super intense workout. In my experience it’s best to take things easy when your body is this fatigued in order to avoid injury.
Use caffeine judiciously when dealing with jet lag
Caffeine can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to dealing with jet lag. A cup of coffee or two first thing in the morning can help re-energise, but try it too late in the day and you’ll have the effects of caffeine to deal with as well as dealing with jet lag. That’s probably going to mean a lot of staring at the ceiling come bedtime.
Don’t increase your caffeine consumption just because you are jet lagged. Any hot drink can be comforting. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated. Mint tea is a stimulant and can be really helpful when you feel tired.
Eat regularly and focus on protein
Your body will likely be craving carbohydrates. Trouble is, if you eat too much of them you will feel great for about an hour. Then the effect will wear off and you may feel sleepy and lethargic. You need something filling that will sustain and energise you without filling you up too much. Focus on protein and fill up on vegetables.
Light but filling recipes for dealing with jet lag
Stick to local time
Stick as close to local time as possible. If it’s daytime when you arrive, stay up as long as you can. If you need to, bring dinner or bed time forward a bit but not too far.
It’s so tempting to sleep in the mornings following a trip, but getting up at your usual time is generally the best idea. If you sleep in for too long, you are, in effect, staying in the time zone you have just left. That never ends well.
If you wake up too early, don’t get up!
Even if you just lay there and relax, it is good for your body. So if you do wake up early when you are dealing with jet lag, don’t be in a rush to get up. Just like sleeping in too long, getting up when you wake up can keep you in the time zone you just left.
Follow your breath or count backwards from 1000. You are likely to nod off, but if you don’t, be assured your body is still benefitting from resting and relaxing.
It may sound crazy, but a 20 minute nap can be really refreshing. Even if you only sleep for a few minutes of that time, it can give you enough energy to power through. Don’t sleep for too long though as it can make you feel worse rather than better.
Take it easy on yourself
Don’t beat yourself up if you are feeling the effects of jet lag. There are no awards for avoiding jet lag, however, it is lovely when you can travel without experiencing it too much.
Hopefully these hints and tips on dealing with jet lag will help you as much as they have helped me. Please share any of your own tips in the comments!
Disclaimer: These hints and tips have helped me in the past, and I recommend them as a fellow traveller. Please do consult your doctor if you feel particularly unwell after travelling.