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How to Fight Jet Lag
If you ever have taken a long plane ride, you probably are familiar with jet lag. But there are ways to avoid the worst of it. Budget Travel offers some suggestions that might help you start your vacation feeling ready to go.
You can try adjusting your body before you fly. It takes about a day to adjust to an hour difference in time zone. So, for example, if you are flying to a time zone that is two hours behind yours, start adjusting your schedule two days before you go. If you usually go to bed at 10 and get up at 6, start going to bed at midnight and getting up at 8 two days before you leave. If you usually eat dinner at 7, eat at 9 for the two days before your trip. That way your body will already be used to your destination time zone when you get there.
That is not always possible, of course. If you are traveling for pleasure and relaxation rather than business, you probably can adjust once you get there. And if your trip is only a day or two, it is probably not worth the effort, since you will be back in your own time zone soon.
Your body also responds differently depending on the direction in which you are flying. It is easier to adjust when you are flying west. That’s because the day seems longer when you get there, because of the time change. Flying east, however, shortens the day and makes it harder for your body to adjust.
Smartphones and tablets can make it more difficult to avoid jet lag. When you are trying to sleep on the plane, screens can keep you awake. Notifications can wake you up. And the light from smartphones and tablets can have a negative effect on your internal clock.
When you get to your hotel, set your room up so that it mimics your room at home and creates an environment that makes it easier for you to get to sleep and to sleep deeply. You might even want to travel with your own pillow. Your bed should be comfortable, and your room should be dark and cool to help you sleep.
Try to get a room in a quiet area. Corner units or end units usually are quieter because they have fewer neighbors. When you wake up in the morning, go outside as soon as possible. The daylight is a signal to your body that the day has started.
If you can do it, sleeping at the airport can help you make up some sleep. Try noise-canceling headphones to block the noise, and a sleep mask to make it dark. Carry a thin blanket for warmth. And check your luggage or put it in a baggage locker so you don’t have to worry about someone stealing it while you sleep.
Although traveling through different time zones has its challenges, these tips – and a sense of humor and spirit of adventure – can help you feel your best sooner.