There’s no denying that international travel is an amazing experience, but crossing multiple time zones in the matter of a few hours typically result in the effects of jet lag. This is particularly miserable if you’re suffering from exhaustion instead of excitedly exploring your destination. But while you cannot completely avoid the effects of jet lag, you may be able to minimize its effects. Below, we’ll explain what jet lag is and how you can reduce its effects so you can enjoy all your destination has to offer.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Read the full disclosure policy here.
“In general, the body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, the body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days.”
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag occurs when you travel across several time zones in one day. One time zone is equal to one hour difference from where you’re traveling from. For instance, we live in California and if we travel to Iceland it is seven hours ahead of California, meaning we cross over seven time zones to get there. This causes your internal clock to fall out of sync with the normal hours of sleep. Jet lag ultimately results in exhaustion when you should be awake and sleeplessness when you should be sleeping.
Unfortunately, jet lag Could take several days to recover from. “In general, the body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, the body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days.” Who’s got time for that?!
Not sure how true it is, but it’s said that jet lag is worse traveling westward (when you gain time) than eastward (when you lose time). We personally agree because it seems to hit us harder traveling westward on our way back home. We’re not sure if this is because we’re more excited about going, depressed that our trip is over, or exhausted just from traveling. It’s probably a combination of everything though.
Thankfully, there are ways to lessen the effects of jet lag!
How to Reduce the Effects of Jet Lag
The nine tips listed below will help reduce the effects of jet lag and allow you to adjust to your new time zone easier.
- Book a red-eye flight. Sleep on the plane and arrive at your destination the next morning somewhat refreshed.
- If possible, a few days prior to travel, begin going to sleep earlier for eastward travel and later for westward travel.
- Be comfortable for your flight: wear comfortable clothes, bring a neck rest, blanket, ear plugs, and eye mask. These will allow you to sleep better during the flight.
- Take No-Jet-Lag and melatonin supplements. Who knows, they may be placebos, but they seem to help us.
- Try and trick your brain to adapt to your destinations time zone by adjusting your clocks prior to take-off.
- Stay hydrated and don’t have any alcohol or caffeine drinks since they disrupt sleep in general.
- Resist the urge to sleep if you are arriving midday at your destination. If you must sleep, take only a 2-hour nap.
- Get as much sunlight as you can at your destination.
- Try and adjust to your destination’s normal sleep-hours as quickly as possible.
We hope this post gives you a better understanding of what jet lag is and how you can minimize and adjust to the effects of jet lag. Do you have any other tips for dealing with jet lag? Let us know in the comments below or send us an email.