Tips to Avoid Jet Lag

July 10, 2013
Words by Ellen Paderson
Photos courtesy of Travel Girl

For anyone who frequently travels, you have most likely felt and experienced jet lag at least once. This occurs when you change time zones faster than your body can adjust. The result is an imbalance in our body’s natural “biological clock” and a disruption of our 24-hour circadian rhythm. Depending on how often you travel and the way in which your body copes, it can take up to seven days to adjust to a seven-hour flight! If you’re en route to paradise for your destination wedding or honeymoon, you’re going to want to recover quickly. To help you adjust and recover quickly from jet lag, Ellen Paderson of Smiles & Miles Travel has some tips and tricks.

Before the trip:

• Select a flight that allows early evening arrival. Stay up until 10 p.m. local time.
• A few days before your flight, move your mealtimes and bedtime closer to the schedule of your destination.
• Anticipate the time change by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
• Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
• Avoid alcohol or caffeine 3-4 hours before bedtime.
• Take vitamin C – an antioxidant that relieves stress – but ask your doctor first!

Upon arrival at your destination in a new time zone:

• As soon as possible: Eat meals, go to bed and wake up based on the new time zone.
• Avoid sleeping before bedtime.
• Spend time outdoors. The sun can help adjust your internal clock.
• Avoid heavy meals and excess caffeine/alcohol.
• Use earplugs and blindfolds to block out noise and light while sleeping.
• Request two wake-up calls in case you miss the first one.
• If your doctor agrees – take vitamin C for at least three days once at your destination.
• Sleep medication can help manage short-term insomnia, but can’t fix jet lag. Talk to your doctor first.

For more info, visit the National Sleep Foundation website: Happy travels!

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