Whether your business requires you to fly to your headquarters across the country, or embark upon international travel to negotiate big contracts, jet lag has its way of getting you down and zapping your energy. Many of us think of jet lag as only making us “tired.” In fact, it impacts us in other ways causing indigestion, bowel issues, appetite changes, memory loss and focus fog. Avoiding it is nearly impossible, but it IS possible to reduce its impact!
1. Get plenty of rest prior to your trip. It’s important to get as much rest the night before as you can. Even if you have a laundry list of to-dos the night before your trip or if you have to arise at dawn for an early flight. Starting out the trip feeling tired just adds to the impact that jet lag will have on your body.
2. Hydrate while traveling. Everyone knows that water is essential. It’s even more important while you’re traveling! Airplanes’ air filtration systems produce air that results in dry skin and nasal passages. The act of traveling has a tiring effect on your body, causing your hydration levels to drop, but drinking plenty of water helps reduce the negative effects on your body. Additionally, avoid drinking alcohol while you’re in transit. Your body metabolizes alcohol differently at higher altitudes which causes both intoxication and dehydration more quickly. Additionally, caffeine is not recommended as its effects wear off quickly, leaving you feeling even more worn out. No matter how much you think you need a cup of coffee, do your best to resist the urge!
3. Arrive in the afternoon. It’s much easier for your body to adapt when it only has to function for a few hours before hitting the hay. Try planning to get to your destination in time to explore the city a bit, eat dinner then go straight to bed.
4. Avoid napping immediately upon arrival. It doesn’t matter how inviting that bed might look. In order for your body to adjust to the rhythm of your destination, it needs to jump in and engage in the day’s routines. Taking a nap puts your body even more off schedule so try to avoid mid-day naps if at all possible.
5. Get outdoors. Too often road warriors end up cooped up in a convention center or airport for the majority of their trip. Make it a point to go out and get some sunlight. Sunshine helps your body produce energy. Exercise or walk around. The extra blood flow creates endorphins, which also aids your body’s adjustment.
6. Set your watch on the plane. This is a pretty common travel tip, but we promise it works and you won’t want to forget this step! Setting your watch to your destination’s time while you’re still in the air helps you to mentally adjust to what time it will be when you land. Even though it’s a mind game, of sorts, it helps to fight off jet lag of a shorter trip especially.