10 Tips to Overcome Jet Lag from a Long-Haul Flight

Posted on Sunday, 30th October 2022

10 Tips to Overcome Jet Lag from a Long-Haul Flight

When you travel across several time zones, your body doesn’t quite know where it’s supposed to be in relation to the rest of the world. Long-haul flights are amazing for visiting the world, but they can affect your health. Upon your arrival, you feel fatigue and sometimes disorientation because your circadian rhythm (your internal clock) isn’t synced up with the environment around you. The result is jet lag, which can cause issues with energy, alertness, sleep quality, and more. There are plenty of ways to fight jet lag when you travel far distances, so you can make the most of your time away and enjoy the trip!

1) Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
Caffeine and alcohol disturb your sleep cycles, which can lead to fatigue and sleep disorders. As jet lag is already a type of sleep disorder, it’s best not to take chances! Once you board, try your best not to touch anything caffeinated for at least eight hours (although if you’re flying overnight, skip all caffeine for at least 12 hours before your flight). The same goes for alcohol.

If you are less sensitive to caffeine and alcohol, you can focus your attention on avoiding any caffeinated or alcoholic drink in the three to four hours before going to bed in your new time zone.

2) Adjust Ahead Of Time
When you’re traveling across several time zones, it can be difficult for your body clock (i.e., circadian rhythm) to adjust. To avoid jet lag, try adjusting your sleep cycle before you leave so you can more easily match local time once you reach your destination. For example, when traveling westward, go to bed earlier over several days before leaving so that you’re on Central Time by departure day.

3) Maximize Sunlight Exposure
When you travel across time zones, your circadian rhythm is thrown off. You can help align your internal clock with actual time by maximizing your exposure to sunlight and minimizing your exposure to artificial light. Sunlight helps your body adjust to the new time zone, so your circadian rhythm is in day mode at the right time in a new country. You also need more sleep and should try getting up at sunrise and going to bed early when you’re traveling east across time zones—that means not staring at screens late at night!

4) No Screen Time
If you’re suffering from fatigue as a result of your long flight, it’s important not to expose yourself to any more screen time. Try switching off everything connected to electricity for a few hours before bed. It might feel like torture, but your sleep will thank you. The artificial screen light act as a stimulant that can only disrupt your sleep.

5) Melatonin
Melatonin is also another popular option. It’s available over-the-counter and helps regulate your sleep cycle, with fewer side effects than prescription sleeping pills. Ideally, you should take it shortly before bedtime in order to work its magic while your body is winding down. Melatonin is a natural chemical that is already present in the body. Low levels of melatonin can make it tough to fall asleep.

Melatonin has the opposite effect of bright light. While sun exposure can help you stay alert, melatonin acts as a darkness and sleep signal.

One of the main reasons why most people experience jet lag is that they’re overzealous and take multiple naps. Napping during your journey will disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, which you’ll need to reset once you land. If you must nap, limit it to under 120 minutes, and try not to close your eyes for longer than 20 minutes each time.

Additionally, it’s best to schedule your nap no later than early afternoon. If you nap too late during the day, you will find it hard to sleep later.

7) Sleeping Pills (warning!)
Sleeping pills are usually associated with long flights and sleeping disorders. While sleeping pills can be effective for people with severe sleep issues, they come with serious side effects like memory loss and addiction. If you’re dealing with jet lag and your brain is too active, try melatonin instead, which is a natural sleep aid.

Who can take sleeping pills? Essentially, if you are prone to severe jet lag symptoms, taking sleeping pills once you reach your destination can help alleviate issues. Sleeping pills are not suitable for the whole duration of your trip.

8) Lighter Meals While You’re There
When you arrive at your destination, keep in mind that jet lag can also mess with your appetite. If you feel tired or sleepy, it might be difficult for you to eat heavy meals when you’re first adjusting. If possible, try eating lighter foods such as salads or broth-based soups. This will help keep fuel you while ensuring that you don’t get too light headed by limiting how much food is in your stomach.

Another risk of appetite disruption is feeling too hungry. You should avoid heavy meals in the few hours before going to bed, as these will affect your digestion and your sleep.

9) Moving Around On Your Schedule
Getting some exercise can be a game-changer when it comes to adjusting your body clock. Indeed, exercising, especially outdoors, will help you tap back into your circadian rhythms. Exercise can affect the time when your body releases melatonin, which can help you adjust to the new time zone. According to a study, exercising at 7 AM or in the early afternoon can shift your circadian rhythm to an earlier time. Exercising in the evening will push the body clock back.

10) CBD supplements
You may be surprised to learn that CBD supplements such as Delta 9 THC Gummies can support your body when fighting off jet lag effects. Indeed, CBD has proven useful in tackling sleep disorders and stress linked to jet lag fatigue. It can also soothe some of the less pleasant symptoms of jet lag, such as digestive troubles or soreness.

In conclusion, seeing the world can be made a lot more enjoyable once you learn how to tame your jet lag. Jet lag is unavoidable in most cases when you travel far. But it doesn’t have to be handicapping anymore!

This is a collaborative post.

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