Jet Lag - 7 Steps To A Successful Trip
Jetting off to the sun for a well earned holiday or to clinch the deal of a lifetime is great, until jet lag creeps up and hits you on the back of the head. Here are seven tested and proven tips to help ensure that jet lag doesn’t ruin your trip.
Don’t let jet lag spoil that much needed holiday trip to paradise or stop you from closing that career enhancing deal you’ve been working on for months.
Arriving full of excitement and anticipation is great, but finding that you can’t sleep at night, you’re tired during the day and you’ve got an upset stomach and a headache can do a lot more than just take the edge off your trip.
If you’re seeking ways of preventing jet lag, or looking for the perfect jet lag remedy, then here are seven tips to start you on your search.
Tip 1. Clear the decks before your departure.
A much overlooked aspect of jet lag is the part played by stress. Running around trying to do a 1001 last minute jobs in the week before you fly. Worrying about whether the house will be safe. Sitting up until midnight the night before your flight paying the household bills. Sound familiar?
Plan well in advance and make sure that you’ve taken care of everything at least three or four days before you go. Then take it easy, get lots of rest and set aside time specifically for relaxation.
Tip 2. Start adjusting your bedtime before you go.
In the two weeks before your trip start to gradually adjust your bedtime. If you’re flying east, bring your bedtime forward by ten or fifteen minutes each night so that, by the time you leave, you’re going to bed about two hours earlier than normal. This will ‘narrow the gap’ between the time at which your body wants to go to bed and the time that the clock says you should go to bed at your destination.
Similarly, if you’re traveling west, put your bedtime back by ten or fifteen minutes each day.
Tip 3. Reduce you caffeine intake.
Coffee, as well as other caffeinated drinks, both speeds up and slows down your internal body clock, depending upon the time of day that you consume it. When you’re settled into a regular pattern of sleep this doesn’t necessarily present too much of a problem, as the effects can tend to ‘balance out’. However, when your body clock finds itself at odds with local time the effects of caffeine can be quite marked and add considerably to the problems of jet lag.
Tip 4. Avoid Pills.
With the exception of any prescribed medication that you normally take, you should avoid sleeping pills, so-called ‘jet lag’ pills and over the counter medication for jet lag. Not only do these have little or no beneficial effect, many of them can actually add to your problems.
In particular, avoid the common temptation to take sleeping pills during your flight. They may well help you to get to sleep on the aircraft, but they will add to your problems when you arrive at your destination.
Tip 5. Dress comfortably for your flight.
Choose comfortable and loose fitting clothes to travel in and tuck a pair of slippers into your carry-on luggage to wear on board the aircraft. It’s nice to be able to get dressed up and go out once you reach your destination but nobody is going to expect you to get dressed up to the nines while you’re traveling.
Tip 6. Get out in the sunshine.
Once you reach your destination get out into daylight as much as possible during the first few days of your trip. Daylight sends powerful signals to your body clock and you’ll find that it adjusts far more quickly if it is exposed to the normal cycle of daylight and darkness at your destination. So take advantage of this and don’t hide yourself away indoors.
Tip 7. Take something special with you.
It can often be difficult settling in strange surroundings and, in particular, relaxing sufficiently to fall asleep. So, take one or two items of special significance with you, perhaps a family photograph or a favorite bedside ornament, to help give a little bit of the feel of home.
Copyright 2005 Donald Saunders
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health related publications including “Jet Lag – A Natural Approach”.
Jet lag ruins many trips, but the solution is simpler than you might think.
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