Top Natural Ways to Reduce Jet Lag Issues. If you’re starting to think about planning a trip overseas after being at home more during the global pandemic lockdowns, or if you want to escape to a health retreat or for some other reason, you’re likely counting down the days until you can head off.
However, unfortunately, a downside of long-haul travel is jet lag. This common phenomenon can put a real dampener on trips and make it harder to adjust when you get home, too. Thankfully, there are numerous natural, inexpensive steps you can take to help your body beat jet lag. Here are some to try in 2021.
Shift Your Internal Clock
It pays to start adjusting your body a few days before you leave for your long-haul flight. Work out the time zone of the place you’re headed to and start changing your internal body clock to this new zone bit by bit.
Go to sleep a little earlier than usual every night if flying east, or stay up a bit later nightly if you’re traveling west. You might like to invest in an app such as Timeshifter, too, which with a few details about you and your journey can suggest when to sleep, nap, get more light, and avoid sunlight, to help adjust your body clock for travel.
Stay Adequately Hydrated
A fundamental way to minimize jet lag is to ensure you stay adequately hydrated during the plane trip. Make sure you drink water often, every hour if possible, except for those times when you’re sleeping. If you’re worried about disturbing other passengers when you need more water, ask flight attendants for an extra bottle of water each time they bring the drinks cart around.
Also, help yourself avoid dehydration and the physical and mental effects that come from it, particularly after a big trip, by reducing your caffeine consumption. Limit the amount of caffeine you ingest in the 12 hours before you leave home as well as during the flight itself. (Though perhaps don’t cut it out altogether as you don’t want to be dealing with caffeine withdrawal when in transit or jet-lagged.)
As a stimulant, caffeine will stop you from getting to sleep and staying asleep on the flight, and resting when you want to. It dehydrates the body, too. Similarly, try to say no to complimentary alcoholic beverages onboard the plane. Alcohol dehydrates the body, too, and makes it harder to sleep properly.
Eat Enough Protein
Something many people don’t realize is that protein-rich foods can be a blessing after a long-haul flight. Choose items high in protein for breakfast on the day you arrive at your destination or the morning after. Alternatively, utilize a quality general or dairy free protein powder in your smoothie or juice if you don’t feel like eating anything heavy.
The reason to do this is that protein gives the body sustained energy. This energy will help you stay awake and alert throughout the day when you’re jet-lagged and wish you could go straight to bed rather than stay up until night falls.
Get Plenty of Rest Before You Depart
Another tip for beating jet lag is to ensure you start your journey as well-rested and de-stressed as possible. Get enough sleep in the week before you travel and avoid boarding the plane high on adrenaline from last-minute work and packing, and you’re likely to cope much better with a lack of sleep on the plane and timezone changes.
Focus on Temperature and Light Regulation
Once you’ve arrived at your final destination, do what you can to regulate your body temperature and exposure to light. Changes in these factors can help combat jet lag since the human biological clock is so affected by these two things.
Give yourself the best chance to feel more normal more quickly by rugging up and consuming warm foods or drinks if you’re in a cold location or cooling down with a cold shower and light clothing if you’re traveling to the tropics or somewhere else hot or humid. The sooner you can acclimatize in this way, the better.
Get Outdoors and Move Your Body
Lastly, try to spend some time outdoors in natural sunlight after your flight to help regulate melatonin release and get your body clock to reset. Getting some fresh air and taking a vigorous walk or doing some other movement will also help you stay awake during the daylight hours and give your body the kick-start it needs.
Jet lag is something that most of us have experienced at some point, and it’s never any fun. However, you can reduce the severity and longevity of it by following the tips above.