As someone who travels for a living and has logged quite a few hours flying around the world & back and around the world and back and… well you get the idea… I've realized that a lot of people hate travel for one main reason… THE JET LAG!If your job requires substantial travel, you might need some help in dealing with jet lag. So I put together a few of my favorite tips to lessen the effects of jet lag:
- Keep in mind that flying WEST is easier than flying east. I discovered this when I flew to Japan for the first time and couldn't sleep once I got there. More severe jet lag occurs when you go EAST because lengthening the day is easier on the body than shortening the day. This was a big wake up call when I flew East, home from Thailand and I think I slept for about 20 hours straight the next day!
- Change your meal times. Start a day or two ahead of time and adjust your meal times to those that match your destination. This is a big one in starting to get adjusted before you even leave.
- Taking melatonin supplements can trick your body into regulating to your new time frame. This is because melatonin is hormone that is normally made in the body during sleep. The timing of your dose is important. Check with your doctor before starting any supplements, of course.
- Exposure to natural light combined with strategically timed doses of melatonin is a good approach. Timing of the natural light exposure is also critical. This is determined by the direction you are traveling and the number of time zones you travel across.
- Sleeping pills/waking pills. Taking a sleeping pill to knock yourself out for short periods of time can help offset jet lag. But experts caution that there can be side effects—so be careful and consult a physician before you use any drugs for the first time. There are also “wake-promoting” drugs that many travelers use, but the side effects of those drugs can be serious. Talk to a doctor to determine what’s safe and what’s not. Personally I have never taken any sleeping pills, as I can sleep just about anywhere … something I learned as a teenager in high school! Just Kidding!
- When you reach your destination, take a walk. It can help relieve the effects of sleep deprivation.
- Try to reduce your travel stress by packing several days ahead of time, instead of at the last minute before rushing to the airport. This in turn will help reduce the effects of jet lag. Meditate, get a massage, relax, do whatever it is you need to ease the stress.
- Try Chinese ginseng. It can make you feel refreshed and relaxed.