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Many of us can’t wait for our next getaway, as 96% of American workers say vacation time is important to them. But the stress of traveling — particularly when you have to change time zones — isn’t necessarily something most people look forward to. If you’re worried that being jet lagged could derail your next trip, you might want to take a peek at the following tips.
Book a Daytime Arrival
Some passengers assume that booking a flight that arrives during nighttime hours will allow them to actually sleep through their jet lag. But if you go this route, you’ll probably feel the opposite of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed upon awakening. Instead of resetting your internal clock, you might end up feeling much groggier in the end. You should aim to arrive during the daylight hours. Not only will this mean you can make the most out of your first day in a new place, but your body will actually respond to the sunlight and help keep you awake. That’ll make it easier for you to adjust to the time change and feel more alert during the first part of your visit.
Take a Short Nap
You might feel like taking an immediate nap upon arrival is a waste of valuable time. But that short nap may be exactly the thing your body needs to push through — particularly if you arrive a lot earlier than you’d normally wake up. Sleep until the time you’d normally begin your day, then get dressed and head out so that you don’t spend all day in bed. While a short nap can do wonders, oversleeping can throw your circadian rhythm all out of whack.
An adrenaline rush isn’t always seen as a good thing — the “flight or flight” hormone is secreted in times of fear, stress, and pain, after all — but it can give you some much-needed energy to keep you awake. That’s why many experts recommend getting active to combat jet lag. Whether you navigate your destination city by foot to get your blood pumping or sign up for a “Sweatlag” class in Los Angeles, it’s typically a good idea to work your muscles in an effort to acclimate to a new time zone. Not only will you benefit from a burst of energy, but you’ll also probably sleep better at night.
When trying to fight off jet lag, H2O should become your BFF. Rather than downing cup after cup of coffee or soda, focus on drinking lots of water to stave off the dehydration from your flight and keep exhaustion at bay. Keep in mind that fighting a hangover will just make everything worse — so try to refrain from partying too hard until you start to feel well-rested again.
Trick Your Brain
You might feel tempted to look at your watch and wonder, “what time does my body think it is?” But that’s a trap you don’t want to fall into. It’s not really possible to “catch up” on sleep; what you really need to do is trick your brain into believing you’re on local time. Therefore, you should set your clock to your destination’s time before you even land and refrain from figuring out what time it is back at home. Otherwise, your body and mind will have a much harder time adjusting.
Traveling around the world or across the country can be extremely exciting, but dealing with jet lag can quickly put a damper on your whole trip. By utilizing these tips, however, you’ll have a great chance of beating jet lag at its own game and enjoying your vacation to the fullest.