Being hit with jet lag is not rare—it happens to most of us who travel, whether we’re flying long distances or short. And no matter how hard we try, some of us end up suffering more than others as we try to adapt to the time change.
However, regardless of how many time zones you’ve crossed, or how many times you’ve flown, there are easy ways to help you cure jet lag and even beat it.
Here are some recommendations we think will help you every time:
For shorter distances, prepare beforehand
If your destination is only a few hours ahead or behind from your home base, then try adjusting your body clock so that it’s closer to the new time zone several days before your trip. For example, if you’re heading to a place that is three hours behind, try going to sleep an hour later and wake up an hour later than you usually do. This will help you quickly adjust when you get to your destination.
Going further? Take some melatonin
Melatonin is a natural hormone that your brain produces that makes you sleep. For those of you going to a place that is four or more time zones from where you live, take some melatonin to help you sleep earlier than you usually do. It’s best to take it thirty minutes before you plan to go to bed.
Light and naps are your best friends
Let natural light shine through at your new destination so that you can reset your biological clock easier. If you don’t have much natural light at your hotel, turn on several lamps during the daytime as an alternative.
And if you like naps, even better! A thirty minute to one hour nap can help give you a boost of energy to keep you awake for the rest of the day, and allow you to sleep easier at night.
Don’t neglect what you eat
Adjusting to your new time zone beforehand is just as important as what you put into your mouth. It’s best to stay away from all caffeinated drinks, since caffeine stays in your system for six to nine hours, messing up your sleeping pattern.
Same goes with alcohol and heavy meals. Stay away from these bad boys the closer you get to catching some zzz’s.