If you’ve traveled long distances before, you may know the feeling; feeling tired and groggy and not waking up early enough to jump-start your day. The good news is that jet lag is easily fixed and can even be prevented with some simple prep. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you get a good night’s rest while traveling.
Understand Your Circadian Rhythm and Jet Lag
One of the keys to overcoming jet lag is understanding the role of your circadian rhythm, which acts as an internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm remains synced to your original location, not your destination.
A few days before your trip, gradually shift your sleep schedule closer to the time zone of your destination. This will help your body adjust to the new time zone more quickly. If traveling eastward, try going to bed and waking up earlier. If you’re traveling westward, shift your bedtime and wake-up time later. You should also ensure you’re well-rested before your journey to help minimize the impact of the time zone change and allow your body to better adjust to the time zone changes. Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep in the days leading up to your trip.
Stay Hydrated and Take Care of Your Body
Jet lag can take a toll on your body, so it’s crucial to prioritize self-care during your journey. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight, as dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag. Avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine during your trip may make recovery from jetlag easier.
Adjusting your eating schedule can also help sync your body with the new time zone. Start eating meals according to the local time of your destination a day or two before your trip. This can help our body adjust its internal clock to the new time zone.
Physical activity can further help reduce the symptoms of jet lag. Engage in light exercises before and during your flight, such as stretching or walking. Stretching your legs and moving around the cabin periodically can also improve blood circulation and reduce discomfort.
Optimize Your Sleep Environment
Creating a calming sleep environment can significantly aid in overcoming jet lag and ensuring restful sleep in your new destination. Light exposure plays a crucial role in regulating your circadian rhythm. During the flight, use an eye mask to block out light and encourage sleep. Upon arrival, expose yourself to natural daylight during the day to help reset your body clock. In the evening, dim the lights and avoid exposure to bright screens, as blue light can disrupt your sleep patterns.
Consider using sleep aids, such as earplugs and neck pillows, to create a more comfortable sleeping environment during your journey. However, be cautious with sleep medication, which may have side effects or leave you groggy upon arrival. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any sleep aids.
Of course, one of the best ways to get good sleep while traveling is to have a good sleep routine. Try out our 5-day plan to revamp your sleep routine, and if you are still not getting the sleep you need, it may be time for a sleep study. Visit www.advancedhomecareonline.com/sleep-studies to get started on coordinating an at-home sleep study.