Notable Tips for Coping with Jet Lag

Whether flying overseas or driving across the country, if you travel through time zones for work you have likely experienced the awful effects of jet lag. Arriving on the job looking fresh and feeling sharp can be difficult when your 9am meeting actually takes place at 1am on your clock. In order to beat those feelings of fatigue, bewilderment, even illness, associated with jet lag, we offer you these notable tips: 

Get your sleep cycle under your control
For the traveling young professional, getting enough sleep and at the right times is essential to keeping our mood, productivity, and health in top shape. Melatonin is a natural supplement found at any drugstore that can be used to help regulate your sleeping and waking cycle during times of travel. Prep for your time-zone-hopping by taking melatonin for three to four weeks prior to traveling, at your usual sleep time. Melatonin works by giving you some control over when your body thinks it’s time to sleep, and without the groggy side effects of sleeping pills. If work takes you to Europe, for example, most Canada to Europe flights depart in the early evening and arrive in the early morning, when many YPs are then expected to get right to work. Prepping ahead of time by taking melatonin before bed each night gives you the ability to then tweak your body’s sleep pattern while flying. Take melatonin on the plane and you can prompt your body to doze off as if it were your natural bedtime. Further, by taking melatonin before, during, and then after long distance traveling, you can also help you to avoid those 4am wakeups while abroad, and get yourself back to a regular sleep schedule once returned home. 

Hydrate, every chance you get
It may sound obvious, as we all know how important it is to drink water, but when travelling it can take a real conscious effort to drink all that is necessary to help fight the ill effects of jet lag. A good trick when flying is to simply say yes each and every time a crewmember offers you water, whether you are thirsty or not. If traveling by car, pack water in an easily accessible cooler to keep it fresh and enticing. Among the many benefits of staying hydrated, continually drinking water while travelling is particularly essential to help flush away the many viruses that can often circulate throughout planes or lurk in shared rental or company vehicles. In order to arrive on the job both looking and feeling fresh, water is truly the key. 

Avoid the tummy troubles
It’s tough to eat right while traveling for long periods. Additionally, eating while travelling often becomes an activity, just something to do to pass the time. As a result, many YPs report arriving at their destination feeling bloated, sluggish, and even ill. Whether you’ve been pounding Doritos in the car or stuffing yourself with airplane food, coupled with sitting for an extended period of time and perhaps a little motion sickness, long distance travel can really ravage your system. Probiotics, particularly acidophilus (that trendy ingredient in yogurt), can help to keep your digestive system functioning and feeling great. Also available in any drug store, probiotics can be taken before, during, and after travelling to ease that sluggy-tummy syndrome so often experienced with jet lag.

Get outside
Even when traveling strictly for business, it is important for both our mental and physical well-being to simply take a moment to ourselves to get outside into the natural light and fresh air. After sitting cramped for hours, dealing with the stresses of travel, and then arriving in perhaps a very foreign place, going outside helps to get your bearings straight and to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Though you may need to rush right off to a meeting upon arrival, taking whatever opportunity you can get to go out into the natural light helps to not only adjust your body’s inner clock, but also to enjoy your new environment.