Jet lag is one of the worst side effects of business travel. Whether you are traveling across one time zone or ten, it can be difficult to adjust. As a result, you many give your best presentation or be as focused in your meeting. The reason jet lag occurs is due to your body clock (circadian rhythm). Your body clock does not realize you have entered a new time zone. Beyond feeling groggy or not quite normal, jet lag can cause gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, ongoing tiredness, and even muscle soreness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it can take up to one day per time zone traveled for your body to adjust. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, no one wants to waste part of a trip recovering from jet lag. Luckily, the side effects of jet lag can be minimized or avoided by following these 5 jet lag tips.
- Get some sunshine– Upon arrival to your destination try to spend some time in daylight to reset your circadian rhythm and as a result influence your melatonin production.
- Drink plenty of water– While this is not the first time you have heard this, do not underestimate the power of H2O. The cabin pressure in flight dehydrates your body. It is very important to avoid alcohol and caffeine in flight and upon arrival as both will affect your sleep quality. Drink as much water as you can while in flight. and when you arrive. Many celebrities and frequent flyers attribute staying hydrated as the key to reducing jet lag along with not appearing to be as tired at their destination.
- Eat Healthy– When traveling and upon arrival, Mayo Clinic experts recommend avoiding high carbohydrate and high fat meals close to bedtime because the digestive process can disrupt your sleep.
- Exercise– While in flight make sure to move around. At a minimum get up and walk to restrooms a few times. This will keep your blood circulating. When you arrive at your destination, take a walk or run outside, or take a few minutes to do some yoga stretches. An aching body will prevent you from enjoying high quality sleep.
- Acclimate– When you arrive at your destination immediately adjust your schedule to adapt to the new time zone. Harvard Health recommends adjusting your eating and sleeping schedule as soon as you arrive. This includes staying awake until the local bedtime and eat meals at the local time (even if you are eating cereal for dinner).
Many experts recommend incrementally adjusting your home schedule prior to your trip until you are on the time zone of your destination. This is a great idea but always doable for business travelers with chaotic schedules. Try these 5 tips to avoid jet lag on your next trip and let me know how you feel!
What do you do to avoid jet lag?