There’s nothing quite like a little jet lag to really mess up the first couple days of a trip. Night is day, dark is light, up is down. Your body has no idea when it’s supposed to sleep, and the resulting exhaustion can cause you not to enjoy your vacation as much as you might if you were well rested.
So how can you prevent jet lag? Well I’m glad you asked. I’ve found a few tricks over the years that have really helped me.
Sleep with the time zone of your destination. I know what you’re thinking. “Duh, Hillary! The problem is that I can’t sleep!” The second you get on the plane, set all clocks and watches to your destination’s time zone. If it’s 9pm in your head, but 9am at your destination, you act like it’s 9am. Drink coffee. Read a book. Watch a movie. Whatever you do, don’t sleep. Instead, take a nap earlier in the day before you get to the airport to help hold you over.
Contrarily, if you get on the plane in the morning, but it’s night time at your destination, you get yourself some sleep! And that leads me to my next tip…
Melatonin is your friend. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to regulate your night and day cycles and tell you when it’s time to sleep. When it’s light out, your body releases less melatonin, and when it’s dark it releases more. It is available as an oral supplement sold at almost every convenient store, drug store, or supplement shop. And most importantly, it’s safe. Take some before you want to sleep to help get your body used to the new night time.
Two words: sleep mask. If you’re trying to sleep on a plane because it’s night time at your destination, but it’s sunny outside, a sleep mask can really help. There are so many options out there for sleep masks. If you don’t normally find them comfortable, I think it’s just because you haven’t found the right one yet. Keep looking.
Dress for the time of day. If you are supposed to sleep on the plane, wear comfortable clothes. You don’t necessarily have to put on pajamas if you don’t want to, but at least wear something similarly cozy.
Set an alarm if you decide to take a nap. I really don’t recommend naps when trying to defeat jet lag. But if you just can’t stay awake, set an alarm and put it out of arms reach. This way you have to get up to stop it, and you won’t accidentally turn it off in your sleep. And if you must take a nap, keep it short and sweet.
I hope these help you on your next trip! Comment if you have any other tips and tricks you swear by!