The Trouble with Globetrotting
For many of us, travel is one of the best parts of summer. Going someplace exotic or interesting breaks up the mundanity of daily life and gives us a chance to recharge our batteries. But one aspect of traveling across time zones can put a damper on the restful and restorative aspects of summer vacation. Jet lag has the power to diminish our enjoyment of time away and smash our hopes of newfound energy upon our return. To help you get the greatest benefits out of your summer travels, here are some simple techniques for neutralizing the effects of jet lag.
Jet Lag is for the weak, right?
If you believe that a strong will is all it takes to avoid the fatigue and diminished capacity caused by crossing time zones, then you’re either unknowingly executing some coping skills or you’re still too young to understand. Jet lag is actually a short-term sleep disorder caused by an interference in your body’s circadian rhythms. It can take your body a full day to recover for each time zone crossed! Whether you want to admit it or not, jet lag is a legitimate challenge for travelers, and its effects can limit daytime functioning for a surprising amount of time.
Fighting Flight-Related Fatigue
Before Your Trip
By planning ahead, you can cut jet lag off at the pass. If possible, book a flight that arrives during the day – more specifically, while the sun is still up. When you book your overnight accommodations, make sure that potential interruptions to your sleep are minimized. A real bed with a full, supportive, and sufficiently sized mattress is essential. Check for blackout curtains if you’ll need them. Avoid shared spaces like hostels and shared AirBNB rentals. Pack ear plugs, sleep masks, and headphones. As your departure time approaches, start simulating what your schedule will be like at your destination. Some people even eat their meals based on their travel time zone in the days before they leave. Whatever you do, don’t deprive yourself of sleep before you go. The first step toward avoiding fatigue is to start your trip well-rested.
While You’re Away
It can be tempting to spend extra airport time at the bar or to hand in those free in-flight drink tickets, but fighting the urge to imbibe has its benefits. Alcohol at altitude will dry you out and make you tired – not the best way to start a journey. Instead, drink just enough water to keep you fully hydrated without forcing you to battle your way through multiple trips to the airplane bathroom. Once you’re settled in your set, set your watch and electronics to the local time of your destination. Upon arrival, take good care of yourself. Eat nutritious foods, exercise whenever possible, and make sure to get as much sleep during each 24-hour period as you would normally get at home. Be sure to stay hydrated, and be patient with yourself. It’s natural for your body to freak out a little bit when you cross multiple time zones. Allow yourself room to adjust.
Upon Your Return
Get ready to prioritize your self-care routine. Getting enough water and vitamin D, in addition to sufficient sleep, will hasten your recovery. If you find that you continue to struggle well after your return journey, it might be time to consider seeing a sleep specialist. A physician or psychologist with specialized training in sleep medicine can also help you better plan for future trips. These types of practitioners will give you access to expanded treatment options like light therapy and prescription medications. And if you return home and realize your bed isn’t giving you the comfort and support you need, come see the professionals at A Goodnight Sleepstore. We’ll connect you with a mattress that will make every night feel like a relaxing, restorative getaway.