How to Beat Jet Lag
The bags under my eyes are Chanel....
Or just signs of a very long trip!...Jet lag is one of the most frustrating parts of travel. No one wants to spend his or her holiday wired at night and yawning through days, but until science figures out a way to manually reset our internal clocks, there’s not much we can do to prevent it.
Jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm — also known as your internal clock — is thrown off by traveling across time zones. Your circadian rhythm helps your body understand what time of day it is and helps regulate your eating and sleeping patterns, body temperature, blood pressure, metabolism and many other things. When the time of day you’re experiencing doesn’t jive with your internal clock, your system gets confused.
Here's some things you can do to help speed up the process.
Find Bright Lights (Or Stay Away from Them)
Your circadian rhythm is largely regulated by exposure to light — your eyes relay this information to a part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which uses it to help set your internal clock. Therefore, being outside when it’s bright out, even if you’re feeling like it should be the middle of the night, can help reset that clock to local time.
Try to Alter Your Internal Clock Prior to the Trip
Some people find that slowly changing their sleep schedule at home before a trip is helpful. If dealing with a very small time zone shift, like three hours, you can try and live on the upcoming time zone’s schedule a bit in advance if at all possible. When changing time zones radically, USA to Europe or Asia, a two-hour nap at some point during the day, after lunch or before dinner ideally, is helpful.
Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle, is a popular anti-jet-lag tool. During a normal day, your internal clock naturally releases melatonin in the evening, which helps signal, “Hey, it’s time for bed.” Melatonin supplements, most often in the form of a pill, can do the same.
Just Do What Works for You
For the most part, try to stay away from both alcohol and caffeine on the road or at least for the day before and after a flight, work out for at least 30 minutes right after the light or at least before you go to sleep that night, preferably outside to remind the body what time of the day it is. Read a book you love and turn on some sweet sleep tunes. The general rule of thumb is that it takes a day to recover from each time zone skipped, so be sure to give yourself a break and ease into your new time zone. Give yourself time to adjust and respect your body. You’ll enjoy yourself much more and feel much better after.