How to Stop Jetlag Ruining The Start of Your Trip
So, you have a wonderful trip planned and you want to make the most of every minute of it. Unfortunately, you know from experience that traveling to a far-flung destination brings with it that annoying, disorienting state we know as jetlag. Jetlag happens to everyone, although it affects some people more severely than others, and the effects can last for several days, especially when you have traveled to somewhere with a particularly big time difference.
The Effects of Jetlag
Even a change of an hour can be a little bit unsettling, as most of us experience when the clocks change without us even going anywhere. You tend to feel hungry and tired at slightly the wrong time while you adjust. This kind of change isn’t enough to really mess with your plans, but when you travel somewhere with a time difference over four hours, you can begin to see some more serious disorientation. Go somewhere very far away and experience time differences in the 10-12 hour range, and you may well experience some very confusing symptoms, like insomnia, or having essentially no idea whether it is night or day when you wake up! Jetlag can make you feel tired, affect your appetite, and generally stop you from being able to do the things you want to do early in your trip with your normal level of energy, so it is important to do what you can to get over it fast.
Adapt to Local Times Immediately for Meals and Sleep
Your body’s routine is generally focused on when it wakes up, when it sleeps, and when you feed it – everything else is mostly habit and would be different on a vacation anyway. As soon as you leave for your trip, begin eating meals on local time, and try to stay up until it is a reasonable time to go to bed on their time too (or, if the time difference is the other way, don’t stay up all night and sleep in the next day). If you need a snack or a small nap to be able to last until your planned meal or sleep time, you should do this, but don’t cave and allow yourself to eat and sleep on home time – it will prolong the adjustment.
Get An Energy Boost Where Needed
If you find you need a little more coffee than usual to keep you pepped up for the first day or two, then enjoy it as needed, though remember that the effects of caffeine can only combat tiredness up to a certain point, so it is also important to do other things to keep yourself energized. Stay hydrated, and where you can fit some activity in, do it. Even going for a walk or a swim can help your body revive. ExaminedExistence.com has some good tips on feeling energized when your body is tired.
Jetlag symptoms will go away with time, but you can get through it faster by following this advice. Equally, you’ll need to do the same things when you return from your trip.