There are few things that strike more fear in even the most well-traveled amongst us than a long haul flight.
But with the right tools and a few essential items, any long haul flight can be made manageable.
*of course, I’m speaking about flying in an economy class seat for 15+ hours. If you’re flying first class or business then go on with your bad self - you don’t need my help.
Today I want to share the tips that help me defeat jet lag and arrive refreshed rather than distressed.
The Mayo Clinic defines Jet Lag as a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones. Here’s the thing, our bodies have their own internal clock that tells them when to stay awake and when to sleep. Jet lag happens because your body's clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of to the time zone where you've traveled.
Anyone who’s ever traveled through multiple time zones knows how debilitating jet lag can be. And if you only have a few days in your new destination it can severely impact your vacay time.
LET ME TEACH YOU HOW TO FIX THAT WITH 13 SIMPLE STEPS
An easy adjustment to get you on the right track before your trip is to slowly adjust to the time zone you’re traveling to. For example, if you’re traveling to London from the U.S. try going to sleep an hour or two early in the nights leading up to your flight.
SWITCH TO YOUR NEW TIME ZONE ASAP
As soon as your butt is in the seat on the plane act as if you’re on the time zone of wherever you’re going. AKA if it’s only 5 p.m. where you’re leaving from but 11 p.m. where you’re going - nighty nighty it’s time for bed. This might be easier said than done, but the plane is the best time to make that internal clock switch.
LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL
Linda will disagree with me on this but you really should limit the amount you drink on long flights. Up in the air, the alcohol will dehydrate you more than it would on the ground and that can seriously mess with your sleep.
But if you want to take the Linda route just drink 4 glasses of red wine at the beginning of the flight and you’ll sleep most of the way LOL.
TAKE THAT MAKEUP OFF HONEY
Now, this doesn’t necessarily help you fight jet lag but it helps me to arrive feeling fresh and clean. I use these travel size makeup wipes and apply a thick coat of moisturizer to keep my skin hydrated throughout the flight.
DRINK LOTS OF H20
Dehydration can worsen the effects of jet lag...ooof as if it wasn’t bad enough… So my advice is to drinks lots of water before, during and after a flight. I love to buy/bring a big water bottle with me and challenge myself to drink the entire thing before my flight. I learned this healthy trick from my gal pal Carson Love.
USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
We all know since the invention of blue blockers that the light from our computers, phones, ipads, is messing with our sleep patterns. But what can we do? Get rid of them?? I think not. So on a flight, I use them to keep me awake when I’m fighting sleep. But remember when you actually do want to fall asleep make sure to put that phone away about an hour before you hit the hay.
USE NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES
SHOCK YOUR BODY
When you land and get checked in you’re inevitably going to need a shower. I’d be concerned and curious if you didn’t after a long haul flight. Once you’re done with all the essential shower steps, before you get out, switch the temperature to cold. The cold water will jolt your system and wake you up immediately!
WALK WALK WALK
If when you arrive it’s not the middle of the night, get out of wherever you’re staying and walk around. This will not only give you something to do but it will help orient you to your surroundings. Whatever you do, DON’T YOU DARE TAKE A NAP. Learn from my experiences, napping will not help your jet lag.
Having a good meal is essential after a long flight because as much as we’d all like to pretend it isn’t...airplane food is gross (unless you’re in first or business class, then it’s 5 star). Make sure to eat the meal that corresponds to the time it is in your new location. That will help you to get on the right eating schedule.
SQUEEZE IN A WORKOUT
I know I know...working out on vacation sounds terrible sometimes. But there’s something so amazing about sweating out all the nastiness from that flight. If there’s no gym where you’re staying, try doing a workout video on your phone. I personally love Studio Tone It Up for on the go workouts. Even if your workout is speed walking outside, do SOMETHING!
GO TO SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO
I know it feels like the most impossible task to try and stay up to 8 p.m. the first night you arrive in your new location but I implore you to try. Because when your head finally hits the pillow and you get a normal night’s rest you will be thanking me!
DON’T SLEEP IN
Resist the urge to sleep in the morning after you arrive. I know it will be hard but the faster you establish a routine the better. Try to get up no later than 9 a.m. local time. This will help you set your circadian rhythm to the local time and you should be fully acclimated by day two.
GUYS - I have used these methods on MULTIPLE long haul flights and I can say with 100 percent confidence that they work.
I can also say with 1,000 % confidence that naps are your worst enemy while fighting jet lag. So if there’s only one tip you follow it should be to stay up as long as you can and fight the urge to nap.