We all wish we could avoid jet lag, the annoying side effect of long flights. Your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is thrown off. So, for a few days, your sleep/wake cycle remains out of sync with the time zone you’ve flown into. Jet lag can make you wake up at 2 AM, want to go to bed 4 PM, and just not feel your best for the start of your vacation.
Thankfully, there are ways you can minimize the severity and length of jet lag. Smart choices before, during, and after you fly give you more time to enjoy your vacation without being bogged down by the frustrating symptoms of jet lag.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is a set of temporary sleep problems that impact travelers flying across three or more time zones. While your body clock adjusts to the different time zone, you can feel “out of sorts” for several days. Typically, the longer the flight, and the higher the number of time zones you cross, the longer you will feel the effects of jet lag.
How long does jet lag last? Symptoms go away within a week, and can include:
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep at night
- Tiredness and fatigue during the day
- Upset stomach
How to Avoid Jet Lag
It’s best to address jet lag before it starts. Unfortunately, there is no magic prevention or cure for jet lag. But doing your best to limit its effects can make for a much easier and more enjoyable vacation. If you prepare your body for your trip, and stay moving and hydrated on your flight, you can reduce your symptoms and feel a lot less “off” when you land.
In the days before your flight, you should:
- Stay well rested
- Stay hydrated
- Regulate your exposure to bright light and even blue light from screens, which impacts your circadian rhythm
- Slowly adjust your meal schedule to the time zone you’re traveling to
- Ask your doctor about sleep aids or sleep medicine
- Adjust your sleeping schedule. Wake up and go to bed earlier or later, depending on your destination
On the plane you should:
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Sleep or stay awake based on the local time where you’re visiting
- Keep your body moving by stretching, doing exercises in your seat, and getting up to walk around the cabin every few hours
How to Get Rid of Jet Lag
After long flights, most people will experience at least some jet lag symptoms while adjusting to the new time zone. You can limit these effects and get settled into to a new time zone if you know the secret tricks of how to get over jet lag faster:
- Stay on schedule! When you land, sync your eating and sleeping habits to local time. Avoid napping, and don’t fall asleep until a reasonable bedtime
- Go outside. Exposing yourself to daylight can help your circadian rhythm catch up
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid screentime before going to bed
- Eat light meals
- Take it easy. Remember, you’re on vacation to relax and have fun!
Travel With YMT Vacations
Now that you know how to avoid jet lag and the best ways to manage it, why not board a flight and cross some time zones? YMT Vacations’ guided tours travel year-round to destinations across the world. We have dozens of domestic tours, and now offer tours on all seven continents! To join us, call your travel consultant or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072.