I live in a central time zone but travel very frequently in the United States for work. I also travel all over the world for pleasure. I've learned it's not easy recovering from jet lag, regardless of where I go.
Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that effects people who travel through multiple time zones. Your body's internal clock is synced to your current time time zone, so it has a difficult time adjusting to a new time zone. When you arrive to your destination, you may be ready to explore, but your body is saying, "Hell, no. Sleep, please." So, here's five tips on punching jet lag in the face.
1. BE WELL HYDRATED
I know you fight for your right to party, and may want to throw some kind of soiree the night before your big departure, or even have a couple of cocktails on the flight, but it may not be the best idea you've ever had. Why? Because the cabin humidity in an airplane can dip to less than 20%, which is far below the average humidity you're used to (probably between 30-60%). When your body is putting out more water than it's taking in, this causes dehydration. Obviously, we all know drinking alcohol causes dehydration, so flying in a plane can exacerbate dehydration and the symptoms that come with your hangover, like: headache, tiredness, sleepiness, dry skin, dizziness, and even vomiting and diarrhea.
Yeah, sounds like a really good time, right?
Avoid being the cranky-ass on your trip and do what your nice, little Corpsman says- hydrate. Airport security will allow you to bring an empty jug to fill with water, once you pass through. I always carry an empty water jug through security and fill it at a water fountain so I have plenty of water on my flights. This little damn cups they give you are never enough!
2. BE WELL RESTED.
Melatonin is legit! Depending on when your flight is, you'll either want to be well rested, or ready to rest. I've personally never slept well on a plane, but I'm not afraid to help sleep along if I need it.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is released in our bodies when it gets dark and signals us that it's time to sleep. You really don't need much. The best part about Melatonin, is that it doesn't leave you feeling groggy like an unnatural sleep-aid would. They make Melatonin in pill forms and chewable. I recommend getting the pill form because the chewable and gummies often contain sugar. So, if you have a several hour flight and want to rest, take a "chill pill" and get some zzz.
3. STAY AWAKE
I know the struggle is REAL, but try to get out and explore to stay awake until later. Its hard to grapple those mid-day sleepies, but if you can push yourself to go to sleep at a decent hour, you'll crash hard that night, and wake up refreshed the next morning.
Get up, get out, and move around. It doesn't matter whether you beat feet on the street, practice yoga, or hit the local gym. Get your blood circulating, and feed your brain and muscles with oxygen. Exercising at certain times of the day can change circadian rhythms, giving insomnia and fatigue a solid roundhouse kick to the head. It may not directly impact your internal clock, but it will increase the length and quality of your sleep.
5. EAT CLEAN
Most airline carriers offer super cute packages of snacks and goodies that are way over priced, and guess what? They're not good for you. They're loaded with unnatural carbs, processed sugars, and mysterious additives. All of the things that cause bloating, gas, and indigestion. No one wants to sit with the smelly guy or gal on the plane, especially if that smelly guy or gal is you! I mean, let's face it, it is uncomfortable!
If you intend to sleep on the flight, avoid drinking coffee and other caffeine-filled drinks. Drink lots of water. Help your body do all of its natural processes without putting additional stress (from cabin pressure and low humidity) on it.
So, there it is. Hopefully this is the only travel hack you'll need!
Find more tips and tricks on www.healthcoach.vet