Jet lag can turn your world upside down, especially after an exciting trip to a different time zone. Your body’s internal clock might need some time to catch up, making you feel sleepy at odd hours and out of sync. But crossing time zones doesn’t have to mean signing up for a wrecked sleeping schedule. Here are some ways to make the transition smoother and minimize the effects of jet lag.
- Understand your body’s clock. Our bodies run on a 24-hour cycle called the circadian rhythm, which is influenced by light. When we travel across time zones, our internal clock struggles to adjust quickly, causing jet lag.
- Look into melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Some travelers find melatonin supplements helpful in adjusting to a new time zone. However, always consult a healthcare provider before taking any medication.
- Modify your light exposure. Light is a powerful tool in resetting your internal clock. Use apps or websites that create a sleep schedule based on your travel itinerary. They’ll guide you on when to expose yourself to light and when to wind down.
- Modify your eating schedule. Consider a 12-to-16-hour fast before and during your flight. This fasting technique may help reset your internal clock. Also, be mindful of what you eat, especially right before bed.
- Relax and unwind. If sleep is elusive, engage in calming activities like reading or meditating. Avoid stimulating activities or bright screens that might keep you awake.
- Address your mental health as much as possible. During the adjustment period, practice self-care and healthy habits. Stressing over jet lag can worsen the situation, so take it easy and allow your body to adapt naturally.
Jet lag can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to ruin your trip so long as you prepare ahead of time.