How To Get Over A Jet Lag?
The picture shown below may be what you look like after a long flight. I am talking 15-24 hr flights! It is like you barely have enough energy to shuffle into the shuttle bus, drag your luggage (seemingly heavier than when you departed!) and collapse on the nearest bed!
You are not just tired, you are reacting to dragging your body, internally kicking and screaming through several time zones. Think about it. It is not really that natural so no wonder you feel exhausted, no more accurately shell shocked, ready to sleep for a week.
Well, from someone who has traveled a lot for leisure, here are a few tips to soften the landing!
1. Drink plenty of water (not alcohol as many people do on flights!). This will keep your body hydrated, especially your brain which somehow seems to decrease its capacity when you fly. Studies indicate this is in fact that case.
2. Get a good night’s sleep before the flight. If you don’t you are chasing the lost hours and that is when jet lack can really hit hard from experience.
3. Eat healthy, fresh, not too fatty food before boarding the plane and on the plane. Of course you cannot dictate the airline food unless you are in first class.
However you can choose healthy options like salads over vegetables, leaving out the dressing. You can have water all the time and perhaps one glass of red wine to relax you if you don’t like flying and to digest your meal.
4. Get up and walk about the plane frequently. One of the main reasons people do this is to keep their circulation and brain active. Sitting in a cramped airplane seat really does accentuate that jet lag feeling! Especially when the person in aisle is constantly asleep and you can’t get past them!
5. Take healthy snacks with you on your carry on bag. These would include nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars.
6. Either before you land or at the airport stop overs freshen up in the toilet. Splash your face with cold water, do your teeth, even have a shower if one is available.
7. When you land try and find a way to get through customs and all the form filling quickly. Have everything ready, look out for short queues or efficient customs people. Some have that bureaucratic look in their eye whereas others just want to help you:-)
8. At the point of leaving the airport select the easiest, safest way (being wary of dodgy taxi drivers in Asia!) to get to your destination. If it is just a few dollars or even 10 dollars to get to your hotel/motel quicker, then do so.
A friend and I once made the mistake of catching a very efficient shuttle service out of Kuala Lumpur airport. The driver said he was leaving “soon”. Of course like in Spain “soon” does not mean the same everywhere. We found ourselves waiting nearly an hour on a very hot sultry night in a dark area of the airport, with airport militia with guns on them!
Then when the shuttle finally left we were last hotel on the stop, meaning another hour. When we did the reverse journey it took 20 minutes on the very fast express city-airport train! This brings me to another point.
Try and explore your airport to destination options before the trip. Even book the shuttle to avoid the queues. Seriously, after a long flight you just want to get to your temporary “home”.
9. When you get to your hotel or wherever you are staying make sure you ask about basics before you crash for the day/night. You do not want to have to go back down for basic items. You want to be able to be self-sufficient for at least a few hours.
Ask if there is coffee in the room. If not buy some or in the lobby. I find this is one of the first things to get me settled after a flight is a cup of coffee! It is like a grounding ritual, something I would do at home.
Part of the feeling of jet lag is a real sensation you are not in your normal comfort zone. You want to trick your mind and body into thinking you are at “home” but of course with all the adventure and fun you have when traveling overseas:-)
10. Pour yourself that cup of coffee or tea. Have yet more water. Splash your face. Get your toiletries out. Yes, men, that includes us. It helps all of us feel a bit more settled.
11. Relish that cup of coffee, pinch yourself to make yourself realize you are actually in such and such a place. Get a snack out, check out the bar fridge, always good to know what is in there for emergency. Look out the window to get some idea of where you are in the city, your view. Also how private your room is since you will need to draw the curtains if you have nearby eyes.
You also don’t want them seeing you get out your expensive camera, mini stereo, etc. There is simply no point in taking risks. From my experience in traveling a lot, it is when you get complacent that you have something go missing or your own safety is compromised.
12. Run the bath or the shower, just how you have it back home, after you have worked out how the thing works of course! If bath gel or shower gel is provided use it. If you have brought your own aromatherapy toiletries that is even better.
Some essential oils such as lavender, orange, lemon, yin ylang and geranium are great for comfort, for getting your body refreshed, ready for a good recovery sleep.
13. Either let an alarm or just let yourself sleep until you catch up on natural sleep. You may be surprised, after long flights with heavy turbulence, delays, periods of 20 hours or more flying that you may wake up 12 hours later. If this is what your body needed accept it. However if before you go to sleep you figure you would like to explore the town that first day/night, it is another way of getting you over the jet lag then do that.
14. You wake up all refreshed, maybe a little unfamiliar with your surroundings. Then it dawns on you were you are. With excitement you make yourself a healthy breakfast, have a quick shower. Pack your bag for the day and get your bearings of the town/city by just walking all over.
Don’t you just love that first day when you are in a new place, discovering it, especially after reading so much about it, seeing it in tourist brochures a year ago or more! You are now here to soak it all up, relish every experience, keeping street savvy along the way of course.
15. If you can on that first day get into the sea or do laps in a pool. This will further help get rid of any jet lag. One word of advice always have the first day of a trip unscheduled. That way you can take your time. Book in the tours and early starts for the 2nd, 3rd days. If you arrive at night and only have a couple of days.
Have a nap, set your alarm. Go out that evening to get familiar right away. Then perhaps have a night swim. Then you are ready the next morning for that early morning tour start if that is your style, it certainly is not mine but each to their own!
16. All the time the first day eat lots of fresh fruit, have things like chicken, good for protein but not heavy in fat. Oh I guess you could have a burger and chips and a drink or three, you have been so good so far! Enjoy! You are officially on holiday:-)