Words by Carlie Tucker
If you frequently travel across time zones for business, chances are you've suffered through a bought of jet lag. It can sneak up without warning, turning your business trip into an excruciating test of endurance. Sleep deprived zombie by day, bright and chipper by night – it can be a vicious cycle that is tough to break.
While it will take some time for your body to readjust no matter what, there are a few steps you can take that will make the adjustment easier and quicker.
1. Prepare Ahead Of Time
One of the best ways to ensure you're not frazzled before you even hit the road is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It seems like an obvious suggestion, but it's often the most simple steps that are forgotten when it comes to busy travelling schedules.
Don't leave everything (packing, arranging, etc) until the night before. This last minute rush could stress you more than need be, resulting in less sleep before your big flight. Skip the last minute rush to help ensure you're heading to your flight refreshed and ready to go.
2. Set Your Watch
An easy to way to help your body adjust is to set your watch (or clock) to the time zone you will be in when you arrive. This way you can get a kick start on replanning your sleep patterns. Plan to wind down and fall asleep when appropriate to your new time zone. To assist, be sure to pack a 'sleep pack' – ear plugs, light clothes, eye mask – to help you fall asleep as you fly.
3. Eat Right
Believe it or not, what you eat can effect jet lag. Choosing the right meal before, during and after is key in helping your body readjust to new time zones.
Before you fly, you'll want to fill up with a good meal. Skip anything too fatty or full of carbs. This will ensure that you're not starving on the plane where it's easy to fill up with sugary snacks or a heavy in-flight meal.
Speaking of in-flight meals, if you find that you're hungry, opt for the lighter option and drink plenty of fluids. You won't uncomfortable in your seat with a heavy meal on your stomach, making it hard to catch some sleep.
Continue the healthy eating after your flight. Again, try to avoid the quick and easy route of high carbs/high fat, which could make you sluggish as your body is trying to adjust. Plan on high protein meals that will give you the energy you need to get through the day. Avoid caffeine late in the day and drink plenty of water.
4. Stop-Over Strategy
If you're heading to the UK or Europe, chances are you're going to have a stop-over at some point along the way. Use this time wisely. You'll want to avoid sitting around, which makes it too easy to fall asleep. Get up and explore. Grab some fresh fruit juice or a light meal. Wander the airport to stretch your legs. Grab a shower if possible, which will help you feel clean, refreshed and ready for the next leg of your journey.
5. Avoid The Nap
While it is tempting to catch a few Zs when you can after a long trip, napping only makes it more difficult to adjust your body clock when it comes time to fall asleep for the night. If you find that you simply can't go on without a nap, try dozing in a chair for 20 minutes. You should get a needed burst of energy to keep you going through the rest of the day.