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  • Coping with jet lag

    2013-09-25

    Traveling to a far-off destination can be thrilling, but if you're going to a place that is in a different time zone, you're going to need some time to adjust your sleep schedule. Jet lag can make you feel ill or exhausted, and sometimes, you just have to tough it out until your body adjusts. However, there are a few tricks you can employ to make the adaptation process simpler.

    Do your research
    The first thing you need to do is examine how much of a difference you'll be experiencing. Traveling from Boston to Los Angeles is only going to throw off your clock by three hours, but if you're heading to Sydney, you can expect a 14-hour difference. Not all jet lag is created equal, so knowing exactly what you're in for will allow you to plan ahead.

    Takeoff and landing
    If you're going to a destination that is far away, you should try to schedule your flights to your advantage. For example, if you know you are going to land in your destination city when it's early morning, then booking an overnight flight so you can sleep is better, rather than having long layovers in various cities when you'll have to stay awake. Don't forget about your return trip - jet lag when you're vacation is over is even worse, because you won't have the excitement and anticipation of being in a new place to make it all worthwhile.

    Your jet lag tool box
    Sleeping on the airplane is one of the best ways to cope with jet lag, as it will leave you feeling more refreshed, allowing you to stay up later if necessary. However, it's not always easy to catch z's while sitting upright on an airplane. Visit your doctor to see if he or she will prescribe you some light sleeping medication, or ask your local pharmacist for over-the-counter options. Avoid drinking alcohol on the plane, as this will leave you feeling groggy when you wake up - and a hangover is definitely not a good thing when you're already suffering from jet lag.

    Think about food
    It's not just your sleep schedule that's going to be thrown off when you travel long distances - it will also affect when you eat. If you can, hold off on any big meals until you can time them to correspond with breakfast, lunch or dinner at your destination. That way, you'll be hungry at the appropriate hour when you arrive.  

    See also... 

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