One of the worst parts of travelling halfway around the world is getting to your destination and feeling the effects of jet lag. It can really put a damper on things, and can ruin the first few days of your trip if you don’t figure out how to adjust quickly.
After spending the last ten years traveling for over 24 hours on my way to Thailand and many other long haul destinations I’ve had more than my fair share of bad jet lag experiences. I’ve also learned how to beat jet lag, adapt quickly, and not lose precious time on my trips. I’ll share with you some of my jet lag remedies that work for me and many others.
Sleep On The Plane
I’ve arrived in Bangkok after traveling for 24-hours without getting more than a couple hours of sleep. I was a walking zombie when I arrived and my first few days of the trip were a blur. It took me days to recover. Now, one of my first steps for beating jet lag is I always try and get 5 – 6 hours of sleep on the plane.
The earlier in the day your flight will arrive at your destination, the more important it is to get some solid sleep on the plane to avoid jet lag. You’ll need the rest to stay awake till the local bed time and avoid falling into an irregular sleep pattern.
Sleeping on the plane is not easy for me. I try to take flights that leave late in the evening so that getting some rest is a bit easier. I try to watch a couple of movies and stay awake as long as possible. By the time the movies are through I’m usually exhausted and able to sleep for 5 or 6 hours straight. This is usually enough to keep me refreshed by the time I reach Bangkok or whatever my destination is.
Adjust To The New Time Zone Immediately
Once you reach your destination it is important to adjust to the local time zone as soon as you arrive. If you arrive in the evening it is important to try and get to sleep on a normal schedule. If you arrive during the day it helps beat jet lag to stay up and stay active. Go out and enjoy the day and get an early nights sleep.
Sunshine and Exercise
Jet lag hates sunshine and exercise. I you arrive during the day, get out and go for a walk. I like to get accustomed to the local area or do some sightseeing. It will both help keep you up during the day by keeping active and tire you out so that you can get a sounds night sleep. This is by far the most useful tips I’ve used for beating jet lag.
Avoid Taking Naps
This point is key to beating jet lag for me. There has been several times where I’ve followed all the above steps, came back to my hotel room exhausted, and told myself I would take a quick nap. I’d wake up in the middle of the night wide awake. It would mess up my sleep patterns for a week.
Now I do whatever it takes to avoid naps and stay up till bed time. My body and mind will be craving sleep, but I fight through it. I stay active during the day, avoid laying on the bed in the hotel for fear of dozing off, and try to get to bed early.
I’m not a fan of sleeping pills, but I know some people that swear by them as a jet lag cure. They’ll take one on the plane to help them get a full 8 hours of sleep. Then they’ll follow the rules above on the first day and take another sleeping pill at night to have a sound night’s sleep. It’s not a jet lag remedy I’d personally use, but it works for a lot of people.
Another option that a lot of people love is melatonin. It is a natural sleep hormone supplement that is supposed to help a person get to sleep. Again this is not something I’ve used but some people have had good luck with.
Jet Lag is no fun, but it is not something that is inevitable on a long trip. Follow these tips and you’ll have jet lag beat and be on a normal schedule the next day.
Do you have any other tips for beating jet lag? Let me know in the comments below.