- understanding jet lag
- symptoms of jet lag
- THE must know tips
- my personal method
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Must Have Tips To Cut Your Jet lag In Half
Fed up of wasting so much time feeling drowsy because of JET LAG? You will love this one. Jet lag is something that we experience when we travel over more than two time zones and that can make us feel tired, unconcentrated, moody, promote headaches and much more of what we don’t want. It is a result of our inner clock (circadian rhythm) and our homeostatic sleep drive (sleep appetite) getting confused through traveling more than two time zones. But here comes your simple jet lag plan to cut the time you experience jet lag in half!
How Does Jet Lag Work?
We all have two forces inside of us that help us to fall asleep and to wake up. These forces are the circadian rhythm and the homeostatic sleep drive.
1. CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
The circadian rhythm is basically the force that adjusts our inner time with the day/night cycle. So light plays the major adjustment role here. When it gets light in the morning our bodies respond with complex reactions that help us to wake up AND the same is true for darkness kicking in at night that makes us tired.
2. HOMEOSTATIC SLEEP DRIVE
Homeostatic sleep drive lets us turn tired dependent on the hours that we are awake. The hormone adenosine builds up over the course of the day telling our bodies that it is time to sleep after a certain threshold of hormone is met.
What happens when we travel over more than two time zones is that these systems get confused and have to re-calibrate. The good news is that our bodies have a built-in re-calibration system that does a perfect job. It’s just not used to do so in the speed we would like it to work on travel. But, there are ways to speed up the process dramatically and to cut your jet lag time in half.
The Jet Lag Effect
But before we dig into what we can do to speed up the re-calibration process, let’s have a look at the symptoms that you can experience when you suffer jet lag.
Here are the most common ones:
- tired when you want to be awake
- awake when you should fall asleep
- a lack of memorizing capabilities
- feeling bad
Got enough reasons to want to minimize your jet lag now. Cut it in half!
How Long Will A Jet Lag Typically Last?
So, without implementing any adapting tips you will typically need
1 day for every time zone you travel
Think about what it means to cut that in half. So if you travel – let’s say 6 time zones it would take you up to 6 days to adjust if you don’t help out a little. Luckily bringing the following tips to action you can reduce this timeframe to
½ day for every time zone
which will leave you with only three days of jet lag. On my last trip I recovered even faster using the technique I shared in this weeks podcast. Think of what difference this will make to your next holiday or business trip. Great, right? So let’s move on.
So let’s get real now. You don’t have to bring all the tips that follow into play – they will work on their own. The more you implement – the greater the effect will be for you. Let’s give our jet lag’s a haircut together and have even more enjoyable or productive time on our journeys.
#1 time adjustment preparation
Start to adjust your body to your destination timezone as long as you’re at home. Knowing that your days will get longer (traveling westwards), start going to bed later. Assuming that you are not super sensitive you can move forward an hour a day. Traveling eastwards we simply work the other way around and go to bed earlier. In this case consider making this easier getting into a dark environment on time as it might still be light outside.
#2 set destination time
Set all your clocks to the destination time zone as soon as you hit the plane. This is
1. a mindset tweak and
2. will help you to eat/sleep or do anything else to the times that it is appropriate to do them in your destination time zone.
Don’t have a nap only because you are tired. Have a look at the destination timezone and ask yourself what you would be doing so at home? In case that you would be awake simply don’t nap. Otherwise – watch the length of your nap to keep the sleep drive for your destination high!
Only because you arrived at your destination and are tired now is no reason for announcing bedtime. Wait until it is time to go to bed in your new timezone. Avoid napping or anything else that supports your ‘old’ rhythm. Instead try to be active as long as you can doing things that you enjoy and that keep you awake. In addition getting your body exposed to sunlight as long as you can in the evening and as early as you can in the morning will also speed up your inner clock adaption time.
I know traveling can be exhausting but, keep up the discipline. Maybe also consider having a cold shower or do some exercises to get pumped a bit if things get to hard. This is really important.
Especially when you travel eastwards you could be exposed to the phenomena that it is bedtime and you are not tired yet. In that scenario you want to get out of the sunlight two hours before you plan to go to bed – best through darkening your hotel room completely and reading a bit or having a bath.
Avoid taking medications like melatonin or sleeping pills and give your body the chance to handle this on its own.
#5 my way
I always plan my trips in a way that I will be tired when I hit my destination bed(time). As the most powerful ideas are very simple there are only four areas where I personally keep an eye on:
- cutting down sleep in the last night before travel
- watching naps in the plane
- getting into the dark on time on my first night (trips eastwards)
- eating in line with destination timezone from travel day on
In addition I try to keep in a good mood even if I feel a bit drowsy. That way I do my best keeping my environment friendly and supportive.
Your Next Journey
Imagine how much more quality time you will have to spend with your family, friends, colleagues being the person that you are without the drawbacks of being tired, moody, unconcentrated and all the rest. In addition you will have more feel-good time to spend on your holiday or perform even better on your next business trip.
Let me know how these tips helped you to cut your jet lag in half and enjoy your next journey!