We all want to maximize our time and energy while traveling. The brain-fog and time wasted during a bad case of jet lag can cause even the most seasoned traveler to under perform at that important client meeting and the eager tourist to choose a hotel bed over an unforgettable excursion. While there is no definitive cure for the sleep-deprived grogginess of leapfrogging time zones, there are a few tricks you can utilize to coax your circadian rhythm back into cooperation.
Pre-Flight Rest and Relaxation
A good night of rest the night before a big day of travel will give your body the best advantage to combating a long flight and the disruption of your normal schedule. Going into the trip well rested will stave off sleep deprivation a few extra hours and can be crucial to arriving at your destination with more energy. If you are an anxious traveler or a busy schedule won’t allow it, try relaxing your routine for a few days before your trip. Budget a few hours of downtime in the nights leading up to the flight. Instead of worrying about work or domestic responsibilities take a few hours to research the hot spots in your upcoming destination.
Eat Right, Drink Heavy
On the flight drink heavily, but stick to water. Avoid alcohol until you reach the destination and you will be rewarded with more pep to party and enjoy the nightlife. Having to use that tiny in-flight lavatory has the added benefit of getting you out of your seat and moving – another tool to help you arrive in top form. For food, try and stick to lean proteins and the freshest options that can be found at airports and on the plane. Foods high in fat and sugar can contribute to lethargy and will further the effects of jet-lag. Pack your own healthy snacks. Save the indulgences for the world-class restaurant or happening bar and you’ll have better memories and more time to make them.
Get Up, Get Out and Get Moving
Waking up at your normal hour in a new time zone can be difficult but if you draw the energy to make it happen, you’ll be able to dust off the cob-webs quicker and have more time to explore and enjoy your stay. If you sneak in some exercise – even just a brisk walk – the blood flow and movement will awaken the body and the stream of endorphins will give you a clearer mind than a cup of coffee. Waking up early and getting outside also allows your body to adapt to the light cycle of your current location. Daylight may seem like a terrible idea if you’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep but studies have shown it can improve your mood and energy levels even if you are running on empty.
Written by Caleb Summeril