Having just traveled internationally, I was reminded of how it feels to fall victim to a mega dose of jet lag. I had full intentions of quickly adapting to my new timezone, but unfortunately, I made a fatal error in my plan: I drank not one, but TWO cappuccinos late in the day. Bad decision when trying to overcome 6 hours of a time difference!
The more timezones crossed, the more likely jet lag is to occur. They say it takes one day per timezone to adjust, but who has time for that when one has to attend a business meeting immediately upon arrival? Although this last business trip wasn’t particularly stellar, in the past I have prided myself in keeping jet lag short or having no jet lag at all. This recent experience, however, has inspired me to share what HAS worked for a quick turnaround:
- Get Moving: As we cross timezones, jet lag sets in as a result of a disruption to the hypothalamus region of our brain which regulates temperature, sleep, and timing such as circadian rhythms. Exercise also regulates the hypothalamus region and can counteract the functions of jet lag. As a result, exercise before, during and after your flight to reduce symptoms and keep jet lag short.
- Alcohol: Avoid alcohol the evening before your business trip. On the flight, however, you might consider having a glass of wine to relax and to help you fall off to dreamland. Don’t overdo it though: Too much alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and cause dehydration.
- Eat Often: On your flight, try to eat a snack every three hours or so. And, within the first day or two of arrival in your destination, consider eating light, healthy snacks every couple of hours. This will help you to keep your metabolism cranked throughout the day, but will also avoid potential food comas from over eating and restlessness from too full a stomach while trying to sleep.
- Drink Lots of Water: When flying, you can easily become dehydrated due to the dry air on the plane. Dehydration can cause you to feel very tired. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your flight.
Once You’re There
- Adopt the Local Timezone: Once you reach your destination, immediately adopt your local timezone. Eat when the locals eat. Drink when the locals drink and sleep when the locals sleep. Avoid taking a nap when you arrive unless it is time for bed.
- Get Your Zs: Do everything in your power to get a full night’s sleep in the hotel in your new destination. If you need to, use a sleep aid to help you fall off to sleep. I would recommend using a jet lag homeopathic remedy, such as melatonin, as opposed to a prescription or medication. Use, however, what you know will do the job.
- Get Clean: If you arrive in the morning, take a cool shower once you’ve landed. This will help you to feel refreshed and stimulate circulation, which will get you ready for the rest of the day ahead. If you arrive in the evening, however, take a hot shower before bedtime to help relax and calm your body and mind so that you are prepared for bedtime.
- Caffeine: Avoid caffeine after 1pm in your new timezone. Caffeine can impact your sleep patterns, making it more difficult for you to get adjusted to the new timezone (as it did for me this last time!)
What do you do to keep jet lag short on your international business trip? Have you been able to completely counteract jet lag?