5 Ways to Get Over Jet Lag Quickly
How to get back on your feet in no time flat.
Traveling is my passion. Jet lag is not. After all, we all want to look gorgeous and put-together as we step off the plane and greet our foreign friends. Red-eye aside, what’s worse is that every time I travel and the time changes, so does my internal clock! I’ve spoken with doctors, herbalists, traveling business women and men, yoga gurus, you name it. Everyone has an opinion on what to do, and what jet lag is.
Let’s look up JET LAG in the dictionary.
Jet’lag/, n. — a temporary disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms after high-speed air travel through several time zones. jet’ lagged’/, adj.
OK, this isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, or experienced, right? So, from a medical standpoint. What is jet lag?
“Circadian rhythmus” is our bodies’ natural time clock. It runs on a 24-hour basis, like time. Now that’s convenient! If you travel to Arizona from Los Angeles, you’re OK. Jet lag doesn’t really kick in. But as you approach the rest of the country, and as the time change grows, your body’s timer stays either ahead or behind.
So how do we combat this? I have consulted several people and have put together some simple tips, including my own, to help you stay as “lag free” as possible:
Find out the time change ahead of time. I try to adjust my sleep habits about a week before I leave. I start with either going to bed a half hour earlier or later each night until I’m on the same time zone as the place I’m going to visit. This may put a cramp in your social life, but my motto is pay for it 50% now, than 100 thousand percent later.
You may find out last minute that you will be leaving on the next red eye for an emergency business meeting. My favorite flight is a red eye. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to get complete rest “en aire,” but I find that my favorite beanie bag neck pillow really helps (the ones that are shaped like the letter “U” and my matching eye mask)…it’s true! It helps. I also wear super comfy and loose clothing and drink plenty of water and chamomile tea.
I have been told to “caffeine out” or “have a drink” for sleep, but I find that it only makes matters worse. You swell, dehydrate, or worst of it all, constipation!
The cabin is usually dark and quiet. If the plane isn’t full, you can usually find some extra seats to lie down on and stretch out. Most people aren’t aware of this travel secret and red-eye flights aren’t as booked. AH HA! Sleep as much as you can on your flight, but wake yourself up or have the flight attendant wake you at least an hour before you land, so you’re not groggy when you arrive at your meeting.
Be careful what you eat on the airplane. You know what airplane food is like. Although some may tout it, YUCK! OK…just “plane” (haha) and simple YUCK! I always try to order ahead of time, a low sodium, vegan meal, or bring my own aboard. There have been studies about whether you should eat or not to eat but, basically, there isn’t much proven in either opinion. Try to remember what you feel like after you eat lightly, or after a heavy pasta meal on the ground. Pretty much, it’s the same in the air, just amplified. Pasta will slow you down and make you tired, because it is a carbohydrate. Vegetables are easily-digestible protein, which feeds your system to give it energy.
Here are a few natural Jet-Lag-beating aids:
- Melatonin. We naturally have levels of this substance in our bodies. When the levels rise in your body, it promotes sleep. Taking additional Melatonin, in gelcap form, raises the levels in your system, hence nighty-nite. Again, to me, this is a last resort because, like caffeine, it messes with your time clock.
- Vitamin B12 for energy. Potassium and Vitamin C are important at any time in someone’s diet and on the plane it is especially important to replenish your system due to altitude, immunity and overall well being.
- Aromatherapy. Consult your local herbalist or vitamin stores as well as places that specialize in aroma therapy. There are smells that help awake you and your senses and calm you and your senses, such as lavender and citrus, for example.
- Water! I cannot express this enough. Learn it, love it, live it! Drink it by the gallons, mist it on your face, towel your neck. Just do it! Plain and simple.
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