An international flight gives you the chance to explore a new city, new culture, and new people. However, it's not all fun and games because jet lag is basically inevitable. However, there are ways to make it more manageable when you reach your destination, so check out these helpful suggestions to take better control of jet lag and have a more enjoyable trip.
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Sleep well the night before you fly.
The best thing you can do to prevent jet lag is to get a good night's sleep before your flight. Sleep deprivation will throw off your sleep cycle, making you less likely to fall asleep when you'd like to and less likely to sleep for long periods of time. Being drowsy, grumpy, and the like will decrease your productivity for the next day.
Train your internal clock.
Prepare your body for the time adjustment you are about to experience. That means, train your body to eat and sleep as close to the times as when you would do such things in the new city. Start about a week before you leave for your trip, and begin by waking up about 15 minutes earlier every day and eating closer to the meal times of the destination.
Fly overnight to arrive in the morning.
If possible, fly at night and get some shut eye so you can arrive in the morning. You'll be more refreshed and ready to tackle your first day because you've already rested.
Change your watch and clocks.
As soon as you board the plane, change the times on all your devices to match the time in your destination. This will prepare you body and brain to think like you are already in that time zone.
Avoid taking a nap upon arrival.
We know flying can be tiring, but try to get out and bask in the sunlight when you land so you won't end up sleeping for another several hours. This definitely won't help in adjusting to the new time zone, and the sunlight will decrease the amount of melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep and alertness, going into your brain.
Try to avoid alcohol.
If you're going on a vacation, you're most likely going to treat yourself. However, if you have trouble with jet lag, it may be best to avoid treating yourself with alcoholic beverages. Alcohol hinders your body's internal clock, which counteracts all your efforts to prepare it for your trip. Moreover, the effects of drinking mid-flight are doubled, so if you're prone to hangovers, beware.
Pick up a light box.
A light box involves light therapy that is designed to enhance your mood and energy by mimicking a blue sky, thus affecting your circadian rhythm (internal clock). It serves to balance your internal clock so you wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and nourished throughout. Sleep with one before you depart or buy a portable one to bring with you on your travels. It is a little on the pricier end, but if you're a world traveler, it's a good investment! We recommend this one from Amazon.
First consult your doctor if melatonin is a good, safe option for you. However, studies have proven that a small dose of melatonin can help people adjust to new time zones more easily and faster.