You know that feeling don’t you? You step off the plane, full of excitement and anticipation after a long flight. Suddenly, you’re smacked in the face with fatigue. You’ve gotten very little sleep and your body feels like it’s hungover. How nice it would be, you think, to settle yourself down into bed right about now. But it’s lunchtime in your new home – hello jet lag!
1. Prepare at home before departing
Adapt your body’s rhythm a few days before you even get close to an airplane. When you fly east, try to go to sleep a couple hours earlier than usual. If you’re going west stay awake one or two extra hours.
2. Plan to arrive later in the day
Arriving in the morning tends to pose large problems with fatigue since the day drags on for a longer period of time. Comparatively, arriving in the afternoon or evening is a much better option since you only have to stay awake for a few hours.
3. Set your watch to the new time zone
Your transition to the new time zone should begin on the plane so you get yourself mentally prepared for the new rhythm. Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the new destination’s local time and keep yourself awake if it’s still daytime there.
4. Drink plenty of water but skip alcohol and caffeine
Air inside airplanes is usually quite dry and you’ll notice your skin stretch and dry up a bit since you’re deprived of water. So every once in a while you should get a glass of water to keep your hydration at a healthy level. Alcohol, however, is pretty strong and toxic when you’re up so high. It actually dehydrates you even more and makes it harder for you to adjust to the new time zone later. Also, coffee and black teas are not beverages you should be drinking on a flight for the same reason. Your best options are to aim for drinking water and juice!