The one part of travel that nobody enjoys. Jetlag – also called desynchronosis – can affect anyone, and usually occurs when you cross more than one time zone. It can leave you feeling like a zombie, with heavy limbs, and a dragging sense of exhaustion and disorientation.
All the preamble of packing and preparing for a trip is exciting, and sometimes stressful. Greg Geronemus, the co-CEO of smarTours, advises his clients to stay relaxed before departure.
“Avoid a hectic last night or a bon-voyage party. Plan as if you're leaving two days before you really are.”
If you’re traveling overnight, it’s a great idea to skip the movie and try to sleep on the plane, arriving alert at your destination. Although you won't feel as rested as you would if you’d slept a full night in bed, you’ll have more energy than if you stay awake for the whole flight.
When the cart comes down the aisle, nix the wine and order water. Consuming alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it’ll also increase dehydration – which can exacerbate jetlag.
Heather Sanchez, a crew member of 10-years who’s traveled the world with Hawaiian Airlines, knows the importance of staying hydrated while flying: “The longer the flight, the more water you should be drinking.”.
Once you arrive at your destination, if it’s too early to head straight to bed, consider getting your sweat on. Exercise wastes time, and can wear you out physically – which might be just what you need to put your head down and catch some restorative z’s.
As soon you get to your destination and you’ve caught up on some sleep, it’s important to get as much sunshine as possible. UCLA sleep expert Dr. Alon Avidan says that an absence of light causes a surge in melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy.
He advises travelers to get out in the sun at this rate:
Dan Boland, founder of Holidayers, has been an international airline pilot for over 10 years, and has encountered his fair share of groggy days as his internal body clock tried hard to adapt to a new time zone.
He advises travelers to adjust to the time in their new destination. If you arrive at bedtime, try to sleep. If you arrive in the morning, try to stay up.
My watch automatically adjusts to whatever time zone I’m in, this helps enormously in forgetting what time it is back at home, and tricks my brain into adapting to my new locale.
Jet lag is a travel hassle, but it’s a small price to pay for the chance to get out and explore.
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