It’s finally the vacation of your dreams. I’m sure that you are very excited while counting down the days of the faithful day when you will be boarding the plane. You are busy planning your itinerary and picking out your wardrobe. You are checking travel guides to look for the best places to visit and what food to eat.
Then just imagine yourself finally boarding that plane with all the excitement, crossing a continent, and finally arriving only to have drowsiness take you over. If you give in to sleep, whatever plans you have had for the day would be for naught. And if you don’t, you might still find yourself falling asleep right in the middle of a business meeting. It’s not just embarrassing. It will be a waste of your precious, long-awaited travel time.
Jet lag is a very common drawback to long-distance travelling. Some of the symptoms include exhaustion, dehydration, dry skin, muscle tension and (let’s not forget) time confusion. If you want to beat jet lag and cross time zones like a pro, you can check these tips on how to fight the fatigue and effects that goes along crossing time zones.
1. No alcohol
Drinking alcohol can add to the dehydration and fatigue that you feel while travelling. That is why it is best to avoid drinking alcohol before you board the plane or during in flight.
2. Stay hydrated
Good, old fashioned water is the best thing to drink to keep you hydrated. Try to drink a lot of water before, during the flight or right upon reaching the airport. Drinking water will help cut down on the dehydration and as well as help easing muscle fatigue.
3. Change your watch’s time
Once you get on the plane, I recommend setting your watch to the time of the country where you will be heading. You can also set world clock times in your phone. Make sure to sleep according to your destination’s time while on the plane. If for example, you are boarding around noon but it is currently midnight where you are going, make sure to sleep right away. It’s good to attune your body clock as soon as possible.
4. Sleep as long as possible
If you are going to sleep on the plane, make sure to sleep as long as possible. It’s to create a semblance of a “nighttime” sleep. I recommend using a good neck pillow, ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones (for those who sleep with music on) and a nice, eye cover. (I personally sleep better if there is no light at all, especially while travelling.)
5. Elevate your feet
While sleeping (or even if you aren’t) elevate your feet as much as possible in flight. Elevating your legs will help reduce swelling in your capillaries, increases venous flow and lowers venous pressure. It is actually ideal to do this with the leg elevated above the level of the heart. It helps improve reabsorption of intestinal fluids in the body as well. When you do this, make sure that your thigh is bent not more than 45 degrees.
6. Take a shower after you land
Once you reach your destination, take a quick shower. It will help you freshen up and revitalize your body from being in the cramped space of the airplane for many hours. Make sure to follow the local time. Don’t take naps if possible.
7. Try to stay up late on the first night
Once you are at your destination, as much as possible, try to stay up as late as you can on your first night. Stay up at least until midnight if your itinerary requires you to have many late nights.
8. The second day will be the most difficult
Be sure to expect the second day as the most difficult day of the trip. Try to stick to your itinerary. You can set up an alarm to help wake you up in the morning. Or if you are not confident of waking up on time, try to arrange for the hotel to give you a wake-up call. Wake up on time and begin your second day.
9. Hit the spa
Getting yourself pampered at the spa will help in relaxing your tired body from the long flight. It will relieve your muscle fatigue and revitalize your dehydrated skin.
10. Get some sun
At least an hour of sunlight and fresh air on your first day will help you in setting your body’s internal clock to your destination’s local time.
So now you know the tricks of crossing time zones like a pro. You can beat the jet lag and be ready to start your adventure right away!