Jet lag is the constant enemy of travelers all over the world. When you move long distances and travel through several time zones, your body can take a long time to catch up to the local time, leaving you feeling tired and groggy.
The good news is that are are ways you can fight jet lag so you first few days in a new place are filled with yawns and a yearning for bed. Here’s a quick guide to jet lag, including how to know if you have it and what you can do to combat it and even prevent it from happening in the first place.
Do You Have Jet Lag?
If you arrive at your destination and just don’t feel quite right, there’s a good chance that you have at least a mild case of jet lag.
Symptoms of jet lag include: trouble falling asleep, constantly feeling tired and disoriented, having trouble focusing on task throughout the day and, in some extreme cases, a feeling of nausea. If you experience two or more of these symptoms, you can chalk it up to jet lag.
And remember that jet lag is much more prevalent for those who travel eastward rather than westward (and if you travel north and south, you won’t have to worry about it at all because you’ll stay in the same time zone). This is because you are traveling “ahead” in time when you move eastward, and your body will be used to sleeping when it’s actually morning or afternoon at your destination.
Fighting Jet Lag
If you experience jet lag, there are a few things you can do to minimize the effects once you arrive at your destination.
First, avoid alcohol and caffeine. The alcohol will just make the symptoms of jet lag worse and the caffeine will prevent you from catching up on your sleep. If you have some time to spare, you can take a power nap in order to allow your body to catch up to your new time zone.
If the sun is out, go lay out or take a walk so you can get some exposure. Sunlight does wonders for resetting your internal clock, and you should feel energized with a few hours in the sun.
Preventing Jet Lag
The best way to fight jet lag is to avoid it all together.
If you can, try sleeping at the time you will once you arrive at your destination. You can set an alarm clock (like this alarm clock app for the Android phone) so you can awake at the same time you will after your flight. If you do this for a few days before you leave, your body will already be primed for the time change. Of course, this may be easier said than done, especially if you have a demanding job, but even doing it for a day or two can really make a difference.
Don’t let a case of jet lag ruin your next trip. Remember these tips and enjoy yourself.
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