6 Proven Techniques to Fight Off Jet Lag

Jet Lag and the Business Traveller

Jet lag can be one of the most challenging parts of executive business travel.  It is also referred to by travel health experts as a ‘circadian rhythm sleep disorder’. Usually, the minute an executive traveller arrives at their destination, they want to arrive fresh and immediately engage with their environment.  Jet lag has other plans.  The fatigue and associated symptoms of jet lag can even make an executive traveler  physically sick.

All You Need to Know About Jet Lag

According to many sleep and travel experts, it takes an average executive traveler one day to adjust to one or two time zones. So if you have crossed over four time zones to get to your destination, you can generally expect up to four days to fully recover from jet lag. That’s four days of sleepiness that can interfere with your physiology and the natural order of things, not to mention that big business deal.

While it’s near impossible to avert jet lag all together, there are some measures you can take that lessen the effect and shrink the number of days spent in a haze. This is particularly important if you’re traveling East, as jet lag seems to affect travellers “losing” time more than those “gaining” time.  Check out these common circulating tips and tools to avoid jet lag and see if it works for you.

 Get into “Flighting” Shape

 The healthier you are, the quicker your body has the chance adjust to a new time zone. Try to follow a healthy diet and a moderate exercise regimen.  Also, try to get plenty of regular consistent rest long before the day of take-off.  If training for a flight sounds kind of whacky , that’s  because it is. In a nutshell if you are a generally physically active person and live a somewhat healthy lifestyle, you shouldn’t have too many complications.  Just understand that lifestyle impacts many areas of your health, including your body’s ability to travel well.

 Preparation not Perspiration

This one especially applies to busy executives that tend to put everything off until the last minute.  If you want to get the upper hand on jet lag, pack everything a week before you fly.  Instead of stressing about everything you forgot to pack during your flight, you’ll have a whole week at home to stress about it.  This will set the stage for a more restful, and enjoyable flight.  For the ambitious, you can begin minor changes earlier. Changes in your regular schedule including altering sleeping habits and eating in small increments.  Do this a week before scheduled departure. These should be gradual tweaks, like adjusting your sleep schedule two or three hours each week. This will pay in dividends once you arrive at your destination.

 Don’t Stay Thirsty My Friends

Dehydration is the number one factor that leads to more severe cases of jet lag.  The good news is that it also a factor over which you can have a measure of control.  Drink copious amounts of water both before and during your flight.  The temptation to drink something caffeinated can be strong-resist this urge. Energy drinks and coffee cause dehydration. Many executive travelers tend to throw one back to help them fall asleep, but alcohol also leads to dehydration.  It’s better to skip both and give your body the chance to do its job naturally.

 To Eat or Not to Eat

One relatively recent travel technique is famous for a feature written on it in Harper’s Magazine.  It’s a mini fast geared toward helping you adjust to the new time zone more rapidly.  Scientists contend that eating is just as vital as sleeping when it comes to your body’s natural rhythms. The idea behind the mini fast is that if you avoid eating 12 to 16 hours before breakfast time in your new destination, the effect of jet lag will be less severe. Fasting that long may be a hard for some, but you can anticipate a large, tantalizing breakfast in your destination city.  As with any other drastic physiological changes you choose to put your body through, always consult with a doctor-especially if you have any medical conditions such as diabetes.

Sleeping With The Enemy

The moment your flight departs you’ll instinctively set your watch to the new time zone in your arrival city and try to sleep accordingly. At first this may seem like an intuitive idea.  The truth is that it’s healthier to sleep for an hour or so at a time. For those long Transatlantic flights, get up and walk around every few hours.  This will not only improve circulation and blood flow, but it will help keep you awake for short periods of time. This shouldn’t be too hard to do with the copious amounts of water you’re going to be drinking. Also try to wear loose fitting clothes and if you have noise canceling headphones or ear buds-bring them.  Even if you are unable sleep hours straight at a time, the quality of the sleep is often more important than the quantity.

 Stick to Your New Schedule

Immediately upon arriving at your destination, it’s important to follow the new time zone schedule right away. It is especially vital to stay awake the first day you arrive in a new country so that you can sleep through the night. Natural sunlight and the excitement of being someplace new should help you on your mission. If you absolutely must sleep during the day, set an alarm so you only sleep for one or two hours at a time. The quicker your body adjusts, the sooner you’ll be able to engage with your new surroundings.

 image: (ostrich Pillow) huffingtonpost.com