Going on vacation is great, but the further abroad you travel, the more likely you are to suffer from jet lag. It’s an annoying condition that affects almost everyone who travels across time zones, and avoiding it is never easy. However, there are some things you can do to try and prevent yourself from falling prey to jet lag for too long. You don’t want to spend your whole vacation in bed, after all.
Adjust your sleep in advance
If you know that your vacation is in a different time zone, it’s good to try and prepare your body for the change a few days in advance. This basically means adjusting your sleep pattern to fit better with how it will be the following week. If you’re traveling west, try and stay awake a little longer than usual, or do the opposite if you’re going east. You might not be able to go too crazy with this, especially if you’ve got work the next day. However, it will help lessen the blow once you touch down on your vacation.
Think about what you eat
Certain foods can have an impact on how we feel. Have you ever eaten a meal and felt ready for a nap? That’s probably because the meal was rich in carbohydrates. These can either be a blessing or a curse when it comes to traveling across time zones; it just depends on where in the world you’re visiting. If you’re heading east, food with lots of carbohydrates can be useful, because your day is getting shorter the further you travel. In the opposite direction, you’ll want to avoid anything that’s carb-heavy, and instead, opt for something that’s full of protein. This food is lighter and won’t deplete your energy, making it easier for you to stay awake longer.
This goes for drinking too. Make sure to stick to water no matter where you’re going, as it will help to keep you hydrated. Although you might be tempted to have some adult beverages or coffee during the flight over, these can do more harm than good. Their effects of respectively helping you sleep and keeping you awake are immediate but short term, and will end up dehydrating you more. You’re best off just drinking water, or juice if you’re looking for something with more flavor.
Consider an overnight stopover
If you’re traveling halfway across the world, you’re going to have to cope with a completely different timezone. That can be hard to deal with, especially if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to build up to it. Plus, you have the hassle of sitting on the plane for hours too. That’s when it might be a good idea to consider an overnight stopover along the way. The change in time won’t be as extreme, so it will give you more of a chance to adjust to the difference. Although this option isn’t for everyone and costs extra money, it’s worth considering if you can afford it.
Book your vacation accordingly
When you plan your vacation, you should always keep jet lag in mind. Even if you help your body adjust to the change in time zone beforehand, you still won’t completely be yourself when you land. The first few days ought to be relatively stress-free and allow you the opportunity to adapt to the new location. That means you probably won’t start enjoying your vacation properly until a few days in. If you’re worried about missing out, it might be worth taking off more time than you originally intended.
Jet lag is a huge pain, but it’s something we have to accept when traveling abroad. At least there are ways for us to combat it, even if we can’t get rid of it altogether. Don’t forget to keep all these tips in mind on the flight back from your vacation too. The last thing you want is to fall asleep at your desk the week after.