Our take on “Jet Lag Remedies.”
Commercial aviation after World War Two has been one of the most prosperous industries in the world. We can now get from the US to Continental Europe in less than 4-5h (usually more due to fuel efficiency reasons). With it, the struggle to keep our bodies in check when we travel. The desynchronosis or commonly known as Jet Lag is a condition that passengers experience and that has been researched thoroughly for the last 2-3 decades.
Flying between time zones can be incredibly hard on your body, especially when it comes to your biorhythm. It is a repetitive cycle in the functioning of the human body such as the daily cycle of sleeping and waking. When those get out of whack, it produces what we commonly know as jet lag. Essentially your body clock hasn’t adjusted to the time zone of your current physical location. It is especially prominent when you cross more than 2-3 time zones at a time.
Tips and Tricks on How to get over jet lag
Though you can’t really avoid jet lag 100%, there are ways to deal with it, or at least minimize the impact that it has on your trip. You don’t have to be condemned to being a zombie on your first days exploring somewhere new. You can, perhaps, successfully get over jet lag if you try some of our jet lag remedies tips.
A quick summary of the elements, we believe are responsible for letting jet lag get in your way.
- Overall physical state of the body and mind. Always rest well and sleep a lot the days before a trip, especially a long one.
- Long flight? Sleep only according to your destination (new) timezone.
- Adapt to the local time (this one works best for me)
- Take advantage of Natural Jet lag Remedies
Make Sure You’re Well-Rested Before You Leave
While it is tempting to have a last “hurrah” and an exciting party, I would strongly recommend staying away from it. One of the key FREE tricks that you can use to get over jet lag or at least minimize it is to reduce your stress as much as possible. It is great for your body overall but a miracle when it comes to jet lag remedies.
One way of doing this is making sure you get enough rest the nights before the voyage. Avoiding alcohol at all costs is very important as well. It only dehydrates your body which doesn’t make it easier for your brain to adjust to changes. If you, however, do this and find yourself with an early-trip cold make sure you drink a lot of liquids- water, juices, coconut water is also fantastic.
The best thing you can do is plan to start relaxing about 48 hours ahead of your actual departure – pack a couple of days early so that you’re both physically and mentally ready to go.
Rest and Relax on the Flight
Are you flying economy or business? Not important. No matter whether you’re flying across the country or the world, take a step to get over jet lag by chilling out on the plane. When I say chill, I don’t necessarily mean sleep the whole time. I will explain why.
I fly from Seattle to London. My departure time is 6 pm Pacific Time which is 2 am on the next day in London. The flight time is on average 9-10 hours which means that at my arrival in London, the local time will be approximately 11 am. To trigger the process of adapting to the local time zone, I will try to sleep for about 5-6 hours from the moment we take off but no more than 7. Remember that this will be a wake-up time around 8-9am in the new time zone, which will be very similar to the time I wake up at home.
To help myself to sleep, I take 2 Melatonin pills ( a hormone that is produced naturally in the body and regulates sleep and wakefulness ) with my afternoon tea and breakfast (nothing sugary to avoid arousal) at the American Express lounge at SeaTac airport. Furthermore, an eye mask ( saw my friend Kora wearing one, I tried and loved it ) and ear plugs could help you isolate yourself from the cabin and quite your mind. This one of the jet lag remedies that works like a miracle.
Onboard sleep meditation. I have an app on my phone called Simple Habit which has a massive library of different types of guided meditation. You can download them and listen to them offline, during flight for example. I usually don’t have troubles falling asleep, but if I do, meditation works the best for quieting the mind.
In-flight infotainment systems are amazing as well with a variety of movies and games to choose from. Some of them are not very good which makes it even easier to fall asleep. It is true unless you are flying Singapore Airlines or Emirates of course.
Adapt to the Local Time
As soon as you land, live in the moment. Yes, where you are, don’t think about what time it is at home– if you’re in Europe, function on European time. This is a little a hack for your mind, allowing you to give your body clock a little push. If you’re able, stay awake until a local bedtime (an early one for most of us).
I am a very active type of traveler. I always pack my days fully with a lot of walking and exploring. Just a very rich itinerary. On my first day in London, I walked 9.3mi as you can see below and on the second 11.5mi. What I found out is that this could actually be one of the jet lag remedies that help me get over it.
What you’re doing is essentially forcing your body to get over jet lag by forcing its transition.
Check out some of the Beauty of London in Christmas Season
London in December is so beautiful during Christmas season. I landed at 8 am, picked up my bags and took a train to Victoria station. It was already around 9:30 am. I changed my clothes, and I felt very fresh and energized. Then used a storage place to leave my luggage. The best is Left Luggage facility on Platform 8; they work from 7 am to 11.59 pm. Then was ready to start roaming the streets and checking things off my list. Coffee, green tea, and good Indian food kept me going strong all day. Finally, around 8:30 pm I started feeling tired and I knew it was time to head back. I was at Picadilly circus, took the tube to Victoria, picked up my bags and headed to my hotel. I was exhausted and taking a shower was a challenge, but I pushed through. That night I slept like a baby and the next day I felt amazing.
Jet lag Cures Can Work
Here are few natural things that jet lag hates: fresh air, exercise, and daytime featuring Melatonin. When you’re trying to fight sleep on your first day to help your body adjust, one thing you can do is take a walk in a park full of fresh air and greenery. Perhaps a quick yoga session to calm the rebel of your senses could work too. Remind your body that in this part of the world, it’s time to be awake.
Other jet lag remedies include taking advantage of over the counter natural supplements like Melatonin. It will allow you to get a full night’s sleep on your first day, helping you kickstart your body clock into the local time and successfully get over the jet lag. One thing you need to be careful of, however, is checking local laws. Melatonin is perfectly legal, and almost everyone uses it in America. Yet, the supplement is banned in some countries like Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Luxembourg.
Vitamins like D and the mineral Zinc can be quite helpful keeping the body in optimal shape especially when enclosed in a capsule with approx. 300 people who are exchanging germs for hours.
Does It Take long to Get Over Jet Lag?
Different factors like physical and mental well-being and age could influence jet lad and affect people differently.
The actions you take on the flight will shorten or lengthen your recovery time. Those can be taking sleep supplements or drink alcohol, movie watching or doing stressful job-related work. The most common notion is that you should allow one day to recover from jet lag for every time zone you traveled east.
A U.S. CDC study shows that recovering from jet lag naturally after traveling west requires some days. Usually, it equal to half the time zones crossed. That means flying west from SEA (Pacific Time Zone) to Japan, for example, will take the average passenger around eight days to completely get over jet lag.