For the first time, I realized exactly how difficult jetlag can be to overcome. I have also realized that when it comes to exhaustion, and travel, you must practice a little self care. I have learned some valuable lessons on my most recent trip abroad. Most of my travel that included jetlag as a potential were to western Europe. That really isn’t all that bad considering that you are about 6 hours ahead of where I normally am in the day. This time, I was 9 hours ahead. It was amazing exactly how much of a difference 9 hours can make. Here are some tips to help you beat and adjust to jetlag.
- Don’t Nap!
The first thing that I learned was that you should avoid napping if at all possible. I know, it is hard! Tell me something I don’t know. After a long flight, it feels like an absolutely dream to get to your hotel, take a shower, and rest a bit. By all means, rest, but don’t SLEEP! Try to stay awake until the normal bedtime for the time zone you are on. Yes, it may feel like absolute torture, but trust me, you will thank me in the nights to come. The more you nap, the less likely you are to adjust to the time zone you are currently in, making it hard to function and enjoy your adventure (or for me, function at work!).
I take melatonin even at home on nights when I am having a hard time quieting that crazy monkey mind of mine. When I can’t settle down, it seems to help me to take about 20 milligrams of melatonin to help me get into the mood to sleep. When traveling, I tend to take 20 to 30 milligrams after a particularly exhausting flight to adjust. It seems to help me stay asleep and get rested as I adjust to the new time zone. Pistachios are naturally very high in melatonin. If you can’t bring supplements, try to snack on a handful of pistachios as you are getting ready to wind down.
- Stay Hydrated
When I was younger, I didn’t really fell a lot of the effects of staying up late, traveling, staying awake for long periods of time, etc. You know, all of the things we tend to do when we are young. Now, I have to practice self care to make sure I am feeling well and at my best. One of the things I tend to neglect when traveling is staying hydrated. Drink water often, it keeps you feeling your best as you are traveling, sitting in cramped spaces, dashing from one end of an airport to another, and so on.
- Daily Schedule
Be aware of the schedule you hope to keep on your adventure. My work day while abroad on this last trip was 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I knew that I needed to get onto that schedule as much as possible. At home, 9:00 AM for me was midnight on my body clock, and 6:00 PM was 9:00 AM at home. Not completely opposite, but pretty close. It was a difficult transition! The first day, I must admit, I did nap – and I absolutely regretted it! I was up from 3:00 AM the next day (6:00 PM on my body clock) until I was able to go to bed the next night. It wore me down a bit and took me a couple of days to really bounce back. Try to be aware of your pending schedule and conform to it as soon as possible.
Jetlag is one of those things you hear about but don’t really think about until it shows up and hits you in the face! Seriously, there is nothing like a 33 hour travel time that will help you feel every single year of your true age. That being said, there are a few things you can do for damage control. Happy traveling!
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