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Beat Jet Lag With Sleep

Category: Sleep

How To Beat Jet Lag With Sleep
While making a long distance travel, ‘how to beat jet lag‘ is a question that usually stays on top of your mind; especially when your first experience of jet lag was of splitting headaches, odd sleeping and waking times, and no feeling of rest in spite of long hours of sleep (as was the case with me).

This time, when I had to make a trip to India and back to US in a few months, I didn’t want to be incapacitated with jet lag. While I did find options of getting no jet lag through medications, I was only interested in natural ways of preventing jet lag all together and if I do get jet lagged then the easiest way of getting over it.

I couldn’t avoid jet lag completely but was able to overcome it within three days on both trips (to India and back) – which is great considering my previous experiences have been of weeks and months.

As you must have already made out from the article title – ‘Beat Jet Lag With Sleep’, my strategy of combating jet lag is mainly via sleep. So here are some tips for you on using sleep to beat jet lag:

How To Beat Jet Lag With Sleep

  • Don’t try to adjust your sleep pattern to your destination time before making the journey. It will make you tired, sluggish and irritable. Your long distance travel will become even more painful. You are going to get jet lag anyways. So have good sleep while you can.
  • Ensure that you get a good night sleep after boarding based on your current time zone. This will ensure that you remain rested. For me, the last few days were anyways so hectic that I was all set to drop dead with tiredness. Even if you get a good 2-3 hours sleep it is all right – as long as you sleep.
  • After your first sleep, take as many naps as you can. For this, take help of soothing music, meditation, closing your eyes and just resting … whatever works. Sometimes, we get so engrossed watching one movie after other (in flight entertainment), that we forget sleeping all together. Hence, take a break after each movie. You will feel better and might be able to get 40 winks before you start with the next one.
  • Once you reach your destination, ensure that you sleep the first night well. If you are arriving late evening / night, then sleep right away (or in a few hours), if you arrive morning/noon, then try to stretch till evening and then go to sleep. You don’t need to wait till night to go to sleep. Since you are dealing with tiredness, lack of sleep and jet lag all together, even if you sleep in evening (that’s around 8 for me), it is all right.

    NOTE: If you can’t stretch, then don’t make mistake of stretching too much. Get your first sleep without bothering about timing. So that you can cover up for the sleep you missed and your tiredness. This will ensure that then you deal with jet lag only and not the other two.

  • Wake up the next day in the morning and get some sunlight. Have as much of a normal day as possible so that your body can adjust to the new time zone. If you can stay awake entire day, it’s great. If you can’t, take a mid noon nap for an hour. Not more than that. This will help you to stay awake for the rest of the day.
  • From now on, just listen to your body to know when to sleep. If you think you need to sleep more, sleep at 8. If you think you need only normal sleeping hours, sleep at your regular time.
  • Following are few tips to deal with jet lag which are not related to sleep -

  • Have lot of fluids – while traveling and later on.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and soda.
  • Eat all meals provided by air lines.
  • Eat meals at regular hours after reaching destination.
  • Take break and do some walking / stretching in the plane and off it.
  • Exercise and expose yourself to sunlight as much as possible.
  • Jet lag takes some time to go so adapt to odd hours for a few days and make most of them.
  • Keep your schedule light for the first day so that you can adjust based on your body’s demands easily.
  • Ensure that you make yourself as comfortable as possible while traveling – give thought to your clothes, footwear and luggage.

What are your tips to fight jet lag ?

photo : Mayr

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Reader's Comments

  1. HOBO(nickname) | March 23rd, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I havent use flight yet nor I will but if I will, I will remember the post. Thankyou !

    HOBO(nickname)´s last blog post..Kusha Ghat – Haridwar – Uttaranchal

    Reply to this comment
  2. Laurie | Express Yourself to Success | March 24th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the tips; I’m always looking for help with jet lag, which seems to get worse as I get older. I’m going on a trip in a couple of weeks so this is really timely for me. I’ll certainly be trying your sunlight suggestion – I’ve never thought of that before. Thanks!

    Laurie | Express Yourself to Success´s last blog post..Thoughts of Happiness

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  3. Patricia | March 24th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I am going on my second long trip of my life in July to Scotland from the US. I have read all your pointers very carefully as I want to have a wonderful time and be healthy both on the trip and when I return home.

    This was a good post for me to read

    Patricia´s last blog post..Morning Light is Revealing

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani-Mehta | March 24th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

      @Patricia, Scotland is beautiful I have heard. Have a great trip. Hope these tips come in handy.

      Reply to this comment
  4. J.D. Meier | March 24th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Great prescriptive guidance.

    Sleep just always sounds good to me.

    I really like when my sleep is in sync w/the sun, but I also love to be a night owl.

    What I’ve found that works best for me is night owl in the Winter and morning riser in the Summer. When I’m a night owl, I’m more creative. When I’m a day person, I’m more productive.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..3 Keys of a Business Case

    Reply to this comment
  5. Burt Haynor | December 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    It was by chance I stumbled upon your blog. I have just spent the last 20 mins reading over some of your other posts, your writing style really helps to explain things in a way I can relate to. keep up the good work.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Matt S. Striner | December 14th, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Something I have been using is binaural beats – these sounds are amazing and can help you achieve more energy – better focus – more relaxed and for a good nights sleep.

    Reply to this comment

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