There are also some things that you can do at your destination to help handle your jet lag symptoms.
- Try To Eat On The New Schedule. This helps your body clock adjust to minimize your jet lag symptoms. To achieve this, you’ll be most successful if you have a stash of nutritious snacks. As you make this transition, a snack can help you gain energy and make it to the next meal time.
I always bring my own snacks along. I also try to get to a grocery store sometime before I sleep the first night. Especially after flying east, it’s common to wake up hungry in the middle of the night. A handy, quick snack gives you the best chance of curbing the hunger before you wake up so much that you can’t get back to sleep.
If you don’t have your own food for this, you’re stuck. Restaurants are often closed and waiting for room service (if it’s available in the middle of the night) will take so long that you’ll likely awaken fully.
- Try To Sleep On The New Schedule
“To nap or not to nap, that is the question…”
If it was a westbound flight, you’re better off staying up until night time and trying to sleep the entire night. Most flight schedules will have you arriving later in the day than if you had flown east. That makes it less time from arrival to bedtime.
If it was an eastbound flight, you often arrive in the morning and it is a real challenge making it until night without sleeping.
The determining factor should be how well you slept on the plane. If you got adequate rest aloft, then it is best to “tough it out” and stay up as late as you can. Try staying up until the normal bedtime in the new time zone.
If you didn’t sleep well on the plane, then I suggest you try what the crewmembers do after eastbound flights-
Crewmembers aren’t able to rest the entire flight like passengers can. Because of this, most of us nap for two or three hours when we first arrive and then force ourselves to get up. Getting up then can be hard, but it is less painful than trying to stay up until night time.
Our friends at NASA also conducted extensive research on fatigue, rest, and naps. Their findings revealed some very useful information. That is:
If you are going to nap, you will have the most success if you nap either less than 45 minutes or more than 2 hours.
This has to do with the cycles of sleep. Basically, if you wake up during that 45 minute to 2 hour timeframe, you have been in a much deeper phase of sleep. Because of this, it will take you much longer to wake up. They call this “sleep inertia”. The bottom line- if you plan your naps you can gain the most benefit from them.
Exercise. This is also among the important jet lag remedies. If you have a regular exercise routine, you’ll want to continue it now. It picks you up and helps you after all the sitting on the plane.
For the most effectiveness in combating jet lag symptoms, the Mayo Clinic recommends exercising either in early morning or late afternoon.
Here’s what I do:
- After an eastbound flight: I exercise right after my 2-3 hour nap. This perks me up considerably. With this nap and exercise combination, I have no problem staying up until the new bedtime.
- After a westbound flight: I exercise as soon as I get to the hotel.
Sunlight This is another of my favorite jet lag remedies and it’s simple to accomplish as long as you have a sunny day.
Studies have shown that exposure to bright light helps shift the circadian rhythms (body clock), and therefore reduce the jet lag symptoms.
Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, a professor at Harvard Medical School, recommends that you expose yourself to bright daylight as soon as possible upon arrival. This should be for at least 15 minutes and without sunglasses.
Sleeping Well At Your Hotel – destinator canada
There are many things that you can do to increase your chances of getting lots of rest at your hotel.
Since this information will be helpful to all travelers and not just those seeking jet lag remedies, I’ve placed this information on a separate page.
If you do many of these things, your jet lag will be minimized but not eliminated. Help yourself by expecting it and planning for it.
Don’t plan a big meeting or special engagement for the first day you arrive. Give yourself a day to adjust. This will also reduce your stress level if you encounter travel delays.
If you can, schedule any meetings for the times that your body is feeling the most awake.
By taking these steps, you will save valuable time at your destination. You’ll be able to start enjoying your trip more quickly.
To learn how to sleep better in any hotel, no matter how noisy it is, click here.
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Supplements. I just saw several articles promoting the use of Melatonin. When this supplement first came out, many touted it as the “greatest of all jet lag remedies”.
At the last NASA fatigue briefing I attended, they said to stay away from Melatonin.
At a medical lecture, I once asked a renowned physician about taking supplements. His response was, “The problem with supplements is that they can make any claims they want and there is no requirement to prove it.”
Supplements are not like medications that need FDA approval. Receiving FDA approval requires long, stringent evaluations and clinical trials.
NASA advises against using pills or supplements as jet lag remedies.
The Mayo Clinic says that there is no single pill for treating jet lag symptoms.