How to Naturally Manage Jet Lag

How to Naturally Manage Jet Lag

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Heads up! This is a guest post from Vanessa Bermudez.

When traveling to a new region, you certainly don’t want to hinder your experience because you’re still adjusting to the time difference. It’s common to feel exhausted from jet lag, but there are natural ways that you can combat this inevitable part of travel.

Here are some tips to help reduce jet lag and abrupt time zone changes:

Reset your clock

Set Your Watch by luke-chesser-22233-unsplash

You can help reduce jet lag by setting your watch or clock to the time zone of your destination before you actually get there. If you are going somewhere that isn’t too far, perhaps from Los Angeles to New York, it’s easier to adjust to the three hour time difference if you start preparing beforehand. Going to sleep earlier than normal can ease your body into the east coast time zone, and make it less challenging to stay awake or fall asleep as a result of the time change.

Even if you are traveling a much further distance, you can still benefit from seeing your new time zone before leaving on a flight. During the traveling process, you can try to sleep or stay awake based on your destination’s current time of day as a way to get over jet lag when you arrive.

Take Melatonin

Melatonin for Jetlag

Melatonin levels are highest when your body is signaling that it’s time for bed since this hormone regulates sleep. Melatonin is released in accordance with your circadian rhythm but traveling to a new time zone can cause your internal clock to become inconsistent with your natural sleep-wake cycle. This disruption in your circadian rhythm causes jet lag, but you can use melatonin supplements as a jet lag cure to promote sleep when necessary and help your body adjust to the time difference.

Use light to your advantage

TV Blue Screen

Bright light, whether natural or artificial, can be used to adapt your circadian rhythm to the time change. Light is an indicator for melatonin release, so exposing yourself to daylight once you’ve reached your new destination may keep you awake until the sun goes down. If you know you will be arriving at a time when you should be asleep for the night, try to avoid bright lights and blue lights from screens at least one hour before you want to go to bed.

Consider drinking caffeine

drink caffeine

The majority of Americans consume caffeine on a daily basis, but is there a downside to drinking coffee or soda when flying to a new time zone? Well, the answer depends on where you’re headed. If you are traveling westward, caffeine can sometimes help you stay awake for longer than usual by delaying the release of melatonin. However, if you are traveling east, you should avoid caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening as you will be losing hours rather than gaining them.

Thanks, Vanessa for sharing some of your tips for how to get over jet lag!

Vanessa Bermudez is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the co-founder and editor of Modern Girls, a collaborative digital space featured in Girl Gaze Project and Teen Vogue.

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8 Comments

  1. Sarah Bailey
    November 6, 2018

    It has been a long time since I went away far enough to struggle with jet lag, but these sound like some great tips to help keep it under control when you jet off to a far-flung shore.

    Reply
  2. Marysa
    November 6, 2018

    Traveling is hard enough without jet lag! We are going to Seattle next summer and it is nice to have some ways to manage the time change. Always bonus too if it is natural!

    Reply
  3. Rachel
    November 7, 2018

    I have never experienced jet lag, but I used to work varied shifts and I used some of these techniques.

    Reply
  4. Holly
    November 7, 2018

    Ugh..jet lag is the worst. Thanks for these awesome tips to counter it!!

    Reply
  5. Jennifer Enoch
    November 7, 2018

    Great tips. My husband uses the melatonin, it’s a great way to naturally boost your sleepy levels..and of course I’m totally on board with you with the caffeine!

    Reply
  6. Amanda M
    November 7, 2018

    Great tips! Melatonin and caffeine are my lifesavers

    Reply
  7. Ksrin
    November 7, 2018

    These are great ideas! I’m all about that coffee personally LOL

    Reply
  8. Lauren
    November 8, 2018

    I’m a flight attendant and I travel all the time! JET LAG IS REAL PEOPLE! Thank you so much for sharing! I would also like to point out that the plane is SUPER dehydrating from the recycled cabin air. While you’re on the plane drink AS MUCH water as you physically can. Water helps with jet lag!!

    Reply

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