If you’ve ever crossed a time line, you know the effects of jet lag. You can board a five-hour flight at 9 a.m. on the west coast and arrive on the East coast… eight hours later? Our bodies are in tune with circadian rhythms and don’t easily adapt to abrupt, unnatural changes in time.
Jet lag of an hour or two can be mild, and most people can get over the disruption in a day or so. But regular occurrences of jet lag, or a discrepancy of several hours, can be much harder to overcome. Insomnia, fatigue, and mild disorientation are all symptoms of jet lag and can wreak havoc on our bodies.
But what can you do? It’s an unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of travel, right? Not at all. There are many ways to recover from jet lag quickly, or avoid it altogether.
Here are the four best ways to stay ahead of jet lag.
If you can, slowly adjust yourself to the time zone you’ll be traveling to. Starting a few days (or even a week) before your trip, gradually adjust your bedtime by going to sleep earlier (or later) each day. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll already be on your new time.
A similar option is to not adjust to your new time zone, but continue to operate on your home time. Wake, eat, and sleep at the same times you normally would, avoiding sunlight for an hour or so before going to bed. Of course, this only works if you’re staying a short time and don’t have to attend early or late meetings.
When you get to your destination, spend some time away from your screens. Many experts agree that the light from our computers and phones tricks the brain into believing it’s light outside. While you may have learned to compensate for this at home, it makes adjusting to a new time zone far more difficult.
Time disorientation can cause internal physical stress. While there may not be any avoiding jet lag in your situation, you can manage the symptoms. Entering a deep meditation can help to reorient yourself.
Of course, floating is one of the best ways to quickly reset your circadian rhythms. If you’ve returned from the other side of the globe and would rather not take days to readjust, head over to your local floatation center for a session.
Though its effects vary, jet lag should be taken seriously. Follow these tips so you won’t lose any more time than your journey requires.