Hello, friends. Today will be the second installment of sleep while traveling. I know, some of you may be thinking sleep is boring. But personally, I love to sleep. And ever had a couple nights of bad sleep? Suddenly the most beautiful location looks boring. So let’s get our jet lag under control so you can enjoy the next destination to the fullest.
These tips will work no matter now far you are traveling, but I was writing them thinking of around the world travel. This could be the US to India, Europe to Australia, Thailand to South Africa, etc. Shorter trips will make the adjustment easier, but the same tips should apply.
As a general rule of thumb, it takes one day to adjust to ever hour of time change. That means if you are crossing 10 time zones, it will take you 10 days to completely adjust. But what if you only have a week? The following tips will help you adjust in just 1-2 days and allow you to get the most out of your travel, while feeling great.
How to Treat Jet Lag and Sleep Better On Your Next Trip
- 1 1. Sleep When It Is Night At Your Destination
- 2 2. Stop Eating After Dinner Time At Your Destination
- 3 3. Stay Up Until Bedtime When You Arrive
- 4 4. Get Out In the Morning (or Afternoon!) Sun
- 5 5. Try Natural Remedies like Rescue Remedy and No Jet Lag
- 6 6. Eat Melatonin Rich Foods
1. Sleep When It Is Night At Your Destination
This first tip seems obvious, but it is a big help. If you are traveling around the world, look up the current times at your destination. Once you are on the plane, consider it a new time zone. As much as possible, close your eyes and rest or sleep when it is night at your destination. This is usually easier if you stayed up too late the night before doing last minute packing and are especially tired. I’m not suggesting you stay up late the night before, just speaking from experience.
2. Stop Eating After Dinner Time At Your Destination
Likewise, have your last meal of the day at the time your would have dinner at your destination. For example, if you are traveling from New York to Amsterdam and would normally eat dinner at 7 pm, have your last meal of that day at 1 pm New York time.
This is sometimes easier said than done, but it does make a big difference in jetlag. If you get too hungry, have something light like a piece of fruit or a steamed milk from Starbuck’s. Just be sure to stay away from coffee. Having an empty stomach often helps with tip umber one above as well, as long as you are not too hungry.
3. Stay Up Until Bedtime When You Arrive
This tip will help you make the change to time difference in a day. If you are traveling to the west, your flight will usually leave at night and arrive in the morning. When you arrive at your destination, start your day. Ideally, you will have slept on the plane (see point 1 above). Check into your hotel or airbnb, then get out and walk around the new city, make plans for and have a full day. If you get very tired, you can go to bed earlier than usual, but try to stay up until at least 6 or 7 pm to make a quick shift to the new time zone.
4. Get Out In the Morning (or Afternoon!) Sun
One of the best ways to get over jet lag is to help reset your circadian rhythms with sunlight. There are also special light boxes you can use to simulate sunlight, and even the light from your computer will stop melatonin production (the hormone that makes you sleep), but natural sunlight is the best.
Make a point to take a walk, a bike ride, or just sit out in the sun during the time it would be dark at home. This would be in the morning if you are traveling west (America to Europe for example), and in the evening if you are traveling east (Europe to America). Spend at least half an hour in the sun. Do this for a couple days and you will feel your body alert and ready to start the day.
5. Try Natural Remedies like Rescue Remedy and No Jet Lag
Rescue remedy is a combination of plant extracts used in times of acute stress. My mother used to give it to me after I sprained an ankle or otherwise ran into something I didn’t see coming. Because of its cortisol-lowering properties it can also be useful to take during travel. I find that it helps me sleep on the plane, and also when I arrive.
Another natural homeopathic supplement is aptly named “No Jet Lag”. This comes in both a pill and spray formula. I have found both to be effective, in combination with the other tips mentioned above, in combating jet lag.
6. Eat Melatonin Rich Foods
Finally, if you are traveling west, the difficulty will be in falling asleep at night. In this case, all the sleep tips in the previous post will be helpful. But, in addition to that some melatonin support can help you fall asleep. I know many people don’t like melatonin supplements because they find it doesn’t help or it makes them groggy the next day.
But there is a natural solution! Many foods contain natural melatonin in small quantities. Interestingly, eating just 2 pistachios provides as much melatonin as a standard melatonin supplement.Now you can save money from the supplements and pack a bag of pistachios instead. See the full information here at www.nutritionfacts.org
To see more travel sleep strategies to get a great night’s sleep, go here:
Finally, since I am back in Barbados, I want to leave you with my favorite version of Adele’s Hello, to lull you into jet lag free slumber.
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