When you are traveling, there is an excellent chance that you will be crossing time zones and that can lead to jet lag. While you may think that you just need to suck it up and deal with it, there are a few things you can do to prevent the symptoms of jet lag and then help yourself recover if it does happen.
One of the best ways to prevent jet lag from happening is to take care of yourself before you head out on your next adventure. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and even exercising. If you are traveling east or have a flight to fly west, I recommend that you move your bedtime by an hour or two a few days before your trip, so you adjust to the new time zone. I understand this isn’t always possible due to work and other obligations, but I thought I would still share it!
When you arrive at your destination, you are going to probably be ready for bed. However, the worst thing you can do is take a nap or sleep for a longer period of time. Instead, I recommend getting right into your new time zone and staying awake until the time you normally go to bed at home. If you go to bed at ten back home, then go to bed at ten where you are. This will allow you to adjust to the new time zone quickly and get the sleep you need every night.
If possible, you should be outside on that first day, because the sun will trigger your internal clock and tell you it is time to wake up and move! The light exposure will ensure your body knows it should stay awake and your sleep-deprived body will understand this is a short-term situation.
Hopefully, your jet lag will not be as problematic when you return home if you took care of yourself when you were on vacation. However, you should do the same things you did when you were on vacation. Basically, get outside in the bright light and go to bed and wake up at your normal local times. Exercise, staying hydrated, and getting into your old sleep schedule and routine will also help.
You should never take sleeping pills to help you get to sleep or when you are recovering from jet lag because they can make you groggier and cause even more sleep issues. If you simply cannot recover from jet lag on your own, talk to your doctor to find the best plan of action for you.
Your jet lag will not last forever and before you know it, you will be more than ready to take off to new unknown destinations in no time at all!
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