Traveling to new destinations is exciting! That rush you feel when you finally book your plane ticket or that sense of adventure you feel when you take your first steps out of that new airport. It is something almost magical. Too bad traveling almost always comes with a downside… jet lag! Whether you are only a few hours off or your destination is almost a full day ahead, a time change can seriously throw off your vacation if you don't know how to prepare for it!
I have been traveling from the USA to Europe since before I could walk. Even with that constant back and forth, if I don't follow my own advice I still find myself wasting days at a time trying to get my internal clock to match the clock on the wall. So if you are about to embark on your first trip with a time change, or if you are just trying to find a tip that might work for you, here are a few tricks that have helped me keep myself on track when it comes to a jet lag.
How To Beat That Jet Lag
1. Start before you even leave your house!
SO IMPORTANT!!! Start changing your sleeping patterns ahead of time. Now I usually deal with a 6-hour difference so obviously, I'm not going to go to bed at 2 in the afternoon just to trick my body into thinking that it's already 8 pm. That's a little extreme!! All I do is simply start pushing the time that I go to sleep a little. I usually start with an hour earlier bedtime one week in advance to my trip and work my way up from there. Even those two or three hours earlier will help your body adjust quicker.
2. Take a Jet Lag Supplement during your flight!
Now personally I have no idea if these pills actually work or if it is more of a placebo effect and that my brain simply thinks it is working but I still always take one. I like the Mier Lab No Jet Lag because they are homeopathic so I know I'm not throwing random chemicals in my body lol and they are super affordable.
3. Be aware of the local time while flying!
It helps a lot if you already pre-set your phone or your watch to the local time of your destination! I usually change the times right before take off when I am already sitting in the plane. That way when I check my phone throughout the flight I can kind of trick my brain into accepting that time as the actual time… that makes sense right?
4. Sleeping on the plane is not always the answer!
I know sleeping on the plane makes the flight go by quicker. Trust me I am a huge fan of making those hours fly by too! But if you let your body sleep on the plane during a day-time flight, then you won't be able to sleep when you arrive at night! That can seriously mess up your body's clock! So only sleep if your newly changes watch or phone clock is telling you that it is okay!
5. Don't let yourself nap!
So you have no arrived at your destination and you are exhausted from traveling. The process of actually getting to a spot can really take its toll on your body so naturally, you are ready for your nap. RESIST THAT URGE!!! Trust me, my eyes have been bloodshot and my mind so groggy I wasn't sure if I was properly forming words, but I kept myself awake until a normal bedtime. It will suck but when you wake up the next morning at a normal time you will be so grateful and ready to take on your action-packed day!
6. Learn to love the sound of your alarm!
After my 6 am chemistry class in college I swore to myself I would never use an alarm clock ever again. HA! Wrong! Sleeping in is the worst thing you can possibly do for your jet lag!!! If you sleep in then you won't be tired again at night which will lead to you staying up later and once again… sleeping in! It is a vicious circle that a simple alarm clock can fix.
7. Get up or outside right away!
An alarm won't be enough, trust me!!! When your eyes are bloodshot and every fiber of your being is telling you to roll back over, you are going to need an extra kick in the tush to make it up! I started putting my alarm somewhere across the room so I would literally have to get up to turn off that awful noise. Then I would immediately go to the nearest door and window and just breath in some fresh air. You'd be surprised how much that helped.
8. Melatonin is here to help!
As if waking up wasn't already such a pain in the butt, not being able to fall asleep might be even worse. That's when I looooove Melatonin pills. I am not a fan of sleeping aids, mostly because any drug that I don't fully understand freaks me out haha so I really like using Melatonin instead when I need that extra help. The take one of the slow release ones while you are getting ready for bed and I swear your body will actually start to feel tired like it should.
Now there are tons and tons of tips and tricks on the internet that will promise to help you beat that jet lag. But the truth is, everyone's body is different so everyone will react to the time change in their own way. Some people have no problem at all switching over while it sometimes takes me a whole week. That's why this list really is just a few things that I have picked up over the years that have personally really helped me! I hope they help you too(: