Jet lag can put a damper on a fun trip. To avoid feeling dehydrated and exhausted when traveling, try these easy tricks to prevent jet lag before it happens, and to cure it when and if it does. These travel tips will help you enjoy your next big trip even more!
Before you leave for your trip
- Start getting on your new schedule before you leave for your trip. If you will be jumping ahead a few hours, try going to bed a little earlier each night starting about a week before your trip. By the time you get to your destination, your body will have mostly adjusted to your new time zone.
- Choose an overnight flight. Depending on the direction you're heading when you fly, choosing a red eye can help you get on the schedule of the place you're heading to. You can sleep on the way over, and wake up on the time of the place you've arrived at.
- Pack a pillow and headphones. Bring along anything that will help you sleep better on your flight. Neck pillows are easy to travel with and can make all the difference in how well you sleep on the plane. Headphones will help block out any noise that may disturb you.
- Exercise. Working out can help you relieve nervous energy and tire you out before your trip so that you're able to relax and sleep well on your flight.
- Don't stress out before your flight. Anxiety can make jet lag worse, so take measures before you travel to make your experience go as smoothly as possible. Check in to your flight the day before, get through airport security efficiently, and pack smart.
While you're flying
- Stay hydrated. Throughout your flight, make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which is the part of jet lag that can make you feel the worst physically. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as both can led to dehydration.
- Eat smart. It's easy to opt for junk food and heavy meals while you're flying since your options can be limited. To avoid feeling sick or sluggish when you land, avoid overeating on your flight, and try to stick to lighter, healthier options if you can.
- Stretch your legs during your flight. If you're flying a long distance, make sure to spend any time you're not sleeping moving around and staying active. This will help get the blood flowing throughout your body and prevent muscle stiffness when you arrive.
- Sleep. Sleep is one of the best ways to avoid jet lag, especially if you are going several hours forward into a new time zone. Even if you aren't, it's important to get as much sleep as you can so that when you land, you haven't lost the equivalent of a night's sleep. Get comfortable with a pillow, blanket, sleep mask, headphones, and doze off.
When you arrive at your destination
- Sync up with the local time. In order to get on the right schedule, try to stay awake until it's time for bed at your new destination. This will help you get track and reset your schedule, so that you can get your body on local time.
- Get some natural light you when land. Natural light is a stimulant, and can help revitalize you throughout the day at your new destination so that you can make it until bed time. Spend time enjoying your new location outdoors!
- Stay on your regular exercise schedule. If you're active at home, try to get some exercise while you're traveling. Getting off your schedule can disrupt your sleep patterns further.