Jet lag: many travellers are confronted with it, few have learned how to efficiently conquer it. Whether you're affected for hours or days, suffering from a lack of sleep and a drastic time change can make the transition into a new place difficult and your first few experiences less than enjoyable.
cc licensed flickr photo shared by The-Lane-Team
Here are some of the best ways we've found to get back on your feet as soon as possible.
- Stay hydrated. Airplanes are less humid than some of the driest places on earth, and dehydration will only increase your feelings of fatigue. Buy a bottle or two of water once you've passed through security, and avoid especially dehydrating snacks and beverages before your flight and while on board.
- Reset your internal clock. If you're due to land in the evening, try and stay awake for the whole flight. If your landing is an early one, nap on the flight. If you're restless, keep in mind that resting with your eyes closed is almost as effective. Bring an eye mask and/or ear plugs if you're a light sleeper or often experience ringing in your ears post-flight.
- Fortify your immune system. Bring Airborne tablets or Emergen-C packets on board with you, and take them before and after your departure, following dosage instructions. Your messed up sleep schedule is even more difficult to re-regulate when your immune system is battling the unfamiliar germs that get recirculated in the airplane.
- Get some sun, or some sleep. If it's evening when you land, make an effort to stay in dimly lit areas and avoid bright lights. Your internal clock will process exposure to light as meaning you're supposed to be awake. If it's morning or early afternoon, stay in the sun as long as possible. It will help your body's clock reset quicker, and the adrenaline rush from being in a foreign place will push you to explore.
- Try an app. Virgin America has recently teamed with the Edinburgh Sleep Centre and created an iPhone app that will tell you what to do based on your departure and arrival times. It will even predict when your jet lag will be completely eliminated, so you can plan your activities accordingly.