When you’re returning from a vacation or business trip, you know that jet lag can make an already stressful time even more difficult. When you have to cross several time zones and adjust to a new sleep/wake schedule, it can make you tired at all hours of the day. And if you’re trying to return to work or make the most of your time in a new location, your internal clock may be getting in your way. So here are some steps you can take to reduce the effects of jet lag and help you get back into your routine!
Get Ahead of the Problem
If possible, try adjusting your sleep schedule before you travel. So if you are traveling from east to west, you may want to push your bedtime back by 30 minutes or so a few days before you travel. And if you are heading east, try waking up earlier each morning and going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Small adjustments beforehand can go a long way towards reducing your jet lag symptoms! Using blackout curtains at night and bright lights in the morning will help your body adjust to this new schedule, and you can also try melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep naturally.
Plan for Time to Adjust
If you are traveling for a big presentation or event, you should consider arriving a few days early to give your body time to adjust to the local time. Fatigue can throw you off your game and prevent you from giving your all, so be a savvy traveler and give your body the time it needs to get used to the new sleep-wake cycle.
Use Travel Time Wisely
There’s no better time to adjust than when you’re on a plane. When you board, set your watch to your new time zone and try to use that time for meals and sleep. Since plane rides can be disorienting anyway, you may as well try to normalize your body to the new time zone as much as possible in midair. And also, since airplane air is very dehydrating, be sure to drink lots of water! But avoid caffeine and alcohol since they can disrupt sleep, even hours later. And you don’t need more disruptions on top of jet lag!
Take a Bath
When you arrive at your new destination or you return home, take a bath to help your body relax before your new bedtime. Calming scents like lavender and chamomile will help you relax, and the drop in body temperature when you come out of the warm tub will help your circadian rhythm recognize that it is bedtime. You should also avoid bright screens (yes, that includes your TV and phone) which stimulate your brain much the same way sunlight does. This will make it harder to fall asleep. Try listening to calming music or reading a book instead.
Invest in the Right Gear
Are you sad to leave your hotel mattress and pillows behind? Then it is time for a new mattress at home. You deserve to have a comfortable sleep experience every night, not just when you are traveling. So if you are interested in a new foam mattress or you want the combined comfort and support of a hybrid mattress, talk to the sleep experts at Sleep USA in Franklin, Sylva, Murphy, and Blairsville. They will help you find a mattress and base that conforms to your unique body and relieves pressure points so you can fall asleep instead of tossing and turning at night!