Even experienced world travelers know there’s no exact science when it comes to beating jet lag. This sluggish feeling is caused by the change in time zones throwing off the body’s circadian rhythm—and every traveler reacts to these changes in a slightly different way. We’ve rounded up some expert tips on avoiding jet lag for you to read before you take off on tour.
Plan to adjust a few days before takeoff
You’ll know your flight schedule ahead of time, plus you can find out what the time difference will be in your destination, which means you can actually anticipate the change the week before you go. If you’re traveling east, start to shift your sleeping schedule a bit earlier. (Shift it a bit later if you’re traveling west.) Check out the handy website Jet Lag Rooster, which can help you create a customized plan to avoid jet lag.
Rest up before you go
Don’t stress the day before you leave—it’s easier than you may think. Set an imaginary deadline to finish your preparations and spend the 24 hours prior to departure getting into a relaxed mindset. A good night’s sleep before a long flight can make a big difference when it comes to feeling refreshed when you land.
Focus on your destination—and reset on the plane
The moment your plane takes off, reset your watch and start getting your internal clock in gear. If it will be morning when you touch down, try to get some sleep on the plane. Once you disembark, focus wholly on where you are and don’t even think about what time it is back home.
Hydrate and eat right
Though it may be tempting to indulge in some coffee or wine during your flight, opting for water while on your way is the best choice. Unfortunately, both caffeine and alcohol can worsen the effects of jet lag. Shift to eating meals on your new destination’s time, even if it feels a little funny. For a snack, try sticking to nutritious bites like mixed nuts or dried fruit.
Keep busy and stretch your legs
If you arrive at your destination when it’s daylight, a midday nap could throw off your adjustment to a new sleep schedule. If you have time before your welcome dinner, go for a walk to keep yourself awake and energized—exercise is one of jet lag’s worst enemies! Stretch your legs and explore your surroundings a bit. If you can’t keep your eyes open, just be sure to set an alarm during your nap so you don’t sleep until the middle of the night.
What are your tips for avoiding jet lag? Share them in the comments below.