Taking an international trip means exploring new places and learning about new ways of life. When you first get off the plane, there are overwhelming feelings of excitement and exhaustion. If not addressed properly, jet lag can take a few days off your itinerary. Here are a few tricks that will bring your body into the here and now, reducing the exhaustion and confusion jet lag often brings. These are the fastest ways to get over jet lag so that you can start your trip on the right foot.
1. Get in tune with the time zone you’re traveling to BEFORE your trip.
Say that you’re traveling to Europe soon. If you are living on the East Coast in the U.S. and plan on traveling to Spain, practice waking up earlier and going to sleep later. Start this a few nights before your trip, and before you board the plane, change all your electronics to the time zone you’re traveling to so that your brain begins communicating that time zone with your body. Use a timezone convertor like this one and prepare accordingly!
Traveling is dehydrating and can be hard on the body. To replenish yourself, be sure to drink water. Bonus points if you drink from your own reusable container to cut down on your single-use plastic usage. Hydration has a major effect on your energy levels, brain functionality, and overall health. Check out this article with 5 drinks that will hydrate you during your travels, helping to cure jet lag.
3. Consider arrival times
Book a flight that arrives in the evening if you’re flying to Europe. In Spain, hotel check-in times are generally later, between noon and 3 p.m., so arriving before that and having to wait to check into your room is not ideal. On the other hand, getting to the room, collapsing into a deep sleep and waking up the next morning in a new and enchanting world is one of my favorite things in the world.
4. Awareness and acceptance
After months of preparation, arrival day is usually full of adrenaline and excitement. You may experience jet lag denial. This happens when you wake up just in time for breakfast, and start the day with pep in your step. “Ah, it feels so good to be in a new place! I don’t even feel jet lagged this time around!” you proclaim to the world. Fast forward five hours later when you’re groggy, waking up in a park, picnic accompaniments strewn across a blanket. You meant well, you really did, but you left no room for what was actually present within yourself. Denial happens, and it’s important to pass through this step and graduate to a beautiful integration period to match the pace of life around you.
5. Get in some exercise.
As described earlier, the exhaustion dips from feeling on top of the world to falling asleep midday in public parks. Exercise is a great remedy for jet lag. When you’re feeling tired, practice yoga, go for a jog, or do some form of exercise. This wakes up your body and naturally re-sets your system. Not to mention, it’s healthier than drinking tons of caffeine!
How can you tell when you’ve got a case of jet lag denial vs. listening to the wisdom of your body?
There’s a fine line between the two. The jet lag denial has an underlying rigidity to it compared to listening to your body. You are your own expert. Follow these guidelines and know that ultimately, you are in charge of the steps you take and the way you decide to handle jet lag.
How many days will it take to get over jet lag?
Short answer: Between 3-4 days. Long answer: It depends on many factors like your age, your health, where you’re going and coming from, and how often you travel. Another factor is your itinerary once you arrive to your destination. Make sure to take it easy the first couple of days. Don’t schedule 15 different back to back activities! Give yourself time to adjust.
Though you can’t altogether avoid jet lag when traveling across time zones, you can get over jet lag faster by following these tips. Share this page with your travel companions so you’re prepared for your next trip!