There is nothing like trying to get over a bad case of Jet Lag. In case you never really understood what the phrase “Jet Lag” means exactly, I often define it as a feeling of being tired, exhausted, sluggish, and weak, associated with traveling and adjusting to a new time zone. Anytime I have to alter my daily routine (eating, sleeping, etc.) I feel jet lagged. Additionally, I experience jet lag when I am adjusting to a new altitude. You might not be aware of this, but Vancouver is at sea level, which means almost anywhere else I travel is at altitude. At altitude I find it harder to breathe the first couple days as there is less oxygen content in the air.
Of course, when I return home again, depending on the amount of time zones I have traveled, forward or back, I sometimes find it difficult to adjust back. On my trip to China, it was the largest amount of time zones I have ever traveled. China was 15 hours ahead of my regular Pacific Time Zone. If you have an upcoming trip where you will either be moving forward or backwards in time (kinda neat eh?), let us share some tips for making sure you don’t fall victim to Jet Lag.
7 Tips & Tricks for Overcoming Jet Lag
1. Mimic your new schedule.
I found this particularly useful when I used to work shift work. If I knew I was transitioning to nights, I would try to stay up a couple hours later the nights leading up to starting my new shift to adjust my body rhythms.
2. Stay hydrated.
If you know you will be flying, this is key. Pressurized planes have decreased amounts of oxygen which may cause dehydration.
3. Keep moving.
If you are traveling by any sort of transportation, the chances are you won’t be moving very much for hours at a time. You also might be rushed, cramped and stressed. This will contribute to cramped muscles and feelings of being sluggish. It will also shift your natural routine. Whenever you can, stretch out your muscles or get up and move around.
4. Give yourself enough time.
Don’t be afraid to show up early to your destination. If I know I have to be somewhere for Monday morning, I might consider traveling on the Sunday to give myself some time to adjust. This is particularly important when traveling to a destination at a different altitude. If often takes the body 1-5 days to adjust to a new altitude.
5. Watch what you eat.
Deviating from your usual diet may increase the feelings of jet lag. Eating too light or too heavy may cause energy issues or inabilities to sleep.
Whenever possible during traveling I try to take mini-naps. Not just in my room, but anywhere. This includes car rides where I am the passenger, planes, trains etc. I sometimes just rest with my eyes closed. This gives me the downtime to recharge, zone out, and gain some energy for my trips. I know that I will be GO GO GO when I am awake. It is also important to minimize the amount of distractions. I use a blanket, neck pillow, ear plugs and depending on the amount of light, a sleep mask. I find that if I am in a new environment, I listen to all the little noises around me, and I get a poor night’s sleep.
7. See your Doctor.
If you really struggle with jet lag, be sure to see your doctor. He/she may have additional tips or be able to recommend over the counter medicine or prescribe you something for when you travel.
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