Travel is great, you get to see new places, you get to experience the world in a different manner, you’re on a journey of self discovery, and you’re tired from changing time zones, and you waste a day or two in recovery. #totallyworthit.
No it’s not. Jet lag is never #worthit if it was a person I’d really really just want to punch it in the face for simply existing, let alone how it bursts our travel bubble, by gatecrashing the minute we reach the hotel or bnb, if not sooner.
But then everyone doesn’t react to jet lag in the way that I mentioned above, some people have an envious zen like calm state of being, and don’t seem severely affected by the shift in time zones as the rest of us, and then comes along this quote and just ruins everything –
Anyone who’s ever seen this quote by Dick Clark, will have one of the two reactions :
- Hell Yeah, Dick’s got the right idea.
- What a (insert Mr. Clark’s first name but use it as a cuss word.)
I’m not even kidding. For the longest time I had the second reaction to this quote, until a few years ago I noticed my dad (who travels a lot for work) make a few simple changes to his routine every time he travels. Turns out, these tips are GOLD! I’d been doing a lot of reading as to how to cope with jet lag, and came across some pretty intense stuff; and by intense I mean the strong surge of wide eyed hope that we all have on the first of January, every year that, this year, we will keep our resolutions. But yeah, not these ones that I’m listing below. Not only do they help with beating jet lag to a great extent, they’re not too difficult to keep up with either. So we never have to feel like this is yet another new year’s resolution that we can’t keep up with anymore. Let’s get you started :
1. Adjust your body clock at least 4 days prior to travel :
Basically, start making small changes to your daily routine times, to match those of the time zone of your travel destination, that way you’ll be able to cope with the time zone shift, minus the grogginess.
2. Take night flights :
Seriously, you need to try this. It will change how your body reacts to jet lag in a major way. Brownie points if you’ve been syncing your body clock with the destination time zone, because that way you’ll be able to get some shut eye on the plane, and you’ll reach your destination in the morning or afternoon based on how long the flight is; you’ll be almost as fresh as a daisy. So snooze on the plane, and snooze a lot, I know you’re thinking “no shit, Sherlock” but hear me out. For typically long haul flights, restlessness sets in quite easily and it will not let you calm down enough to drift off even for a nap, that’s when you’ll need music over the movie that’s playing in flight.
3. Drink water not coffee, and don’t forget eye care :
Coffee might keep you awake for the moment, but it’ll keep you up even when you really need to sleep. Don’t even think about substituting water for alcohol, because you know what too much alcohol will give you? a bad head splitting hangover; and isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid in the first place? So drink in moderation if you must, but don’t eliminate water. For every hour in the flight you must down at least 6 ounces of water. Go to the restroom as often as you must, but make water your best friend on a flight, and forget all about how tired you’re going to be when you land.
Besides, if you’re wearing lenses, it’s a good idea to remove them before the snooze fest, also make sure that your lens solution is compliant with air security rules, so that you can clean your lenses and don’t have to be stuck with sticky eye pricking lenses, and literally lose sleep over them. Eye drops are a good idea too, just make sure you’re allowed to bring them along. Nothing is more irritating and detrimental to relaxation than tired heavy eyes, which you can’t close because the solution/drops are confiscated at the luggage scanner or you accidentally checked in your lens case in your luggage, and have nothing to put them in, in your carry on handbag.
4. Soak up the sun :
When you arrive at your destination, by snoozing on the night flight and landing during the day (like I suggested), don’t forget the sunglasses, because your eyes will need a little adjusting to the sudden increase in brightness, soak up as much of the sun as you can, as against going to the hotel or bnb and taking a quick nap.
If you’re feeling too tired and absolutely need to sleep, don’t. Take a cold shower and head out, take a nice leisurely walk around the hotel, take in the environs from the safety of your hotel around you. If you nap right away, what was intended to be a 15 minute power nap will end up as a 3 hour long sleep siesta; which will leave you wide awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, mildly hungry, and terribly confused. So reach the destination, check in, and tire yourself out slowly, but just enough to sink into a deep rejuvenating slumber that you will break out of, only the next morning, as against the middle of the night.
So if you’ve been syncing your internal clock slowly four days prior to your flight, this transition will be easy peasy, and not as jarring as it would have been had you winged tip one. (moral of the story : don’t wing tip one.)
5. Just chill
Yeah, seriously. Don’t stress about anything. So you missed a day of body sync, will agonizing about it help? no. Or you just remembered that you left your comb on the dresser at home, and you’re now in a plane, can you help it? no. So chill, you’re on vacation. Or not, if you’re traveling for work and left an important document behind, stress about it, when there’s something you can actually do to remedy the situation. The more you stress yourself out over legit, or unnecessary trivialities, the more jet lagged you’ll feel even if you did everything right.
So if you really want to pack a punch at jet lag, take a chill pill, and just go with the flow.
More next time, but until then,