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Traveling is exciting, adventurous, and at times, spontaneous. Although, jet lag can really hijack your plans, and should definitely not be underestimated. Jet lag is essentially your circadian rhythm is thrown out of balance as a result of airplane travel, changing time zones, irregular eating habits, and offset sleeping patterns. The best thing to combat jet lag is to try and bring your body back into balance. These are my foolproof tips and tricks that get my body back on schedule and ready for my next travel adventure.
HOW TO BEAT JET LAG
1. Hydrate –
This may seem obvious, but it’s something most people don’t do enough, especially while traveling. On any given travel day, start out with 1 liter of water, 2 pinches of Pink Himalayan sea salt, and half of a squeezed lemon. It’s the perfect elixir to rehydrate and absorb trace minerals. During travel, pack your own collapsible water bottle to remind yourself to drink up. Try to drink at least 3-4 liters per travel day.
2. Nutrients –
Fueling your body with the proper nutrients is extremely important, especially when you lack access to healthy foods. On flying days, I also make sure to take Spirulina, a blue-green algae, that comes in either powder or pressed pill form, and has shown to be incredibly powerful at combating inflight ultraviolet radiation. I am also adamant about taking some type of green powder, since getting in your veggies can be difficult in flight or in foreign destinations.
3. Sweat –
Getting a good sweat session in before traveling is ideal. If you have time before your flight, I always try to rev up my metabolism before parking myself in an airplane seat for 8 plus hours.
4. Caffeinate Strategically –
Even if coffee is a part of your every day morning routine, try to hold off prior to takeoff. Give yourself a chance to catch up on a little more sleep, even if it’s just 30-minutes. It’s also important to note, that while adjusting to a new time period, you can use caffeine to your advantage in the morning, but hold off anytime afternoon. This will help your body to sync to your new time zone.
5. Eat at Appropriate Times –
When it comes to synching your body clock, meal time is extremely important. So try to stick to a normal eating schedule. If you’re unbelievably starving, tie yourself over with a snack. I always pack an assortment of healthy snacks in my carry on bag, just in case.
6. Minimize Alcohol Intake –
Unfortunately, the truth is that alcohol disrupts sleep. Which is why not overdoing it while resetting your circadian rhythm is very important. So yes, enjoy that glass of wine or two at dinner, but don’t go overboard on those first couple of nights.
7. Nap Intentionally –
Getting on the right sleeping pattern can be one of the most frustrating parts of jet lag. So don’t sabotage yourself by sleeping during odd hours. If you’re exhausted, try a 30-minute power nap midday.
8. Light Exposure –
Our brains respond sensitively to light and darkness. In fact, it’s one of the main signals for our body clock’s synchronization. In the morning, immediately open the blinds and expose yourself to sunlight. During the day, go on a walk and enjoy exploring outdoors. While at night, limit exposure to your cellphone’s blue light to ensure a restful sleep. For a breakdown of when you should be getting light and dark exposure based on your destination’s time zone, check out Jet Lag Rooster.
9. Relax –
Bedtime can be a traveler’s biggest challenge. To avoid tossing and turning, begin your bedtime ritual with a magnesium supplement. This will help to relax your muscles and ease tension. Next, remove all light emitting devices from the bedroom. Yes, that includes your phone. Finally, use earplugs and a silk eye mask to block out distracting light and sounds for a restful sleep.
*Pro Tip –
Take your arrival day easy. If your itinerary permits, do not book any tours or activities on the day you land. Give yourself time to relax, get settled, explore your neighborhood, and maybe even take a power nap, if needed.