How To Cure Jet Lag

Top tips for avoiding and curing jet lag.

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• Travel: Flying • Travel: How-To
• Travel: International Travel • Travel: Planning
• Travel: Tips & Tricks

Matt Anderson's Take
It doesn't matter if you're traveling for vacation and pleasure or just for business, jet lag is a real pain. Here's a list of top tips to help you deal with, avoid, and even cure that dreaded jet lag.

What Is Jet Lag?


Before we get started, a little primer on what jet lag actually is. It's essentially the negative reaction your body has when traveling across time zones quickly. Doing so tends to throw off your body's circadian rhythm, which is basically your body's internal clock.

If your internal clock gets out of whack it has a domino effect on your overall well-being and can lead to insomnia, headaches, pains, feeling tired, and other less than pleasant feelings.

Let's move on to jet lag solutions!

Short Trips


Only traveling for a day or two? Then avoid making any changes in your routine. Stay on your original "home" time for as much as possible, including meal and sleep times, so that you don't bounce your internal clock back and forth too much too quickly.

Start Off Well Rested


This is an obvious one but also hard to do because traveling is stressful. There's a lot to remember, and you have to get to the airport on time, deal with the TSA, and so on. Flying today is not a pleasant experience but put all of that out of your mind and get a good rest before you travel. For more on better sleeping, read 10 Ways To Sleep Better and The Secret To Falling Asleep Fast.

Avoid Alcohol & Coffee


Before you travel and until your body gets settled into its new time zone, avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated drinks which can disrupt your system. Besides, since we know Alcohol Causes Cancer, do you really want that anyhow? Drink plenty of water and try some caffeine free or low caffeine tea. Green, ginkgo Biloba, and ginseng teas are good in the morning or day time while Chamomile and lavender teas are better in the evening or at night.

Drink Water


Some will argue that drinking plenty of water is all you need to fight off jet lag. Considering we know the Top 8 Health Benefits Of Water, there may be some truth to that. Either way, we do know that staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keeping your body happy and healthy so drink up.

Daylight & Exercise


Get up and go outside in the morning and spend plenty of time in the sunlight which can help regulate your internal clock. Just be sure to apply sunscreen to avoid getting burnt. Doing morning or early afternoon exercises can get the blood flowing and wake you up as well, but avoid late night exercising. Considering the known Health Benefits Of Exercise, how can you go wrong?

Adjust To New Time Zone


Upon arrival, do your best to adjust to your new time zone right away. The key points here are eating and sleeping at the proper times for this new time zone. If you normally go to bed at 10pm at home, then do your best to also go to bed at 10pm (local time) at your new destination.

Depending on the change, making this adjustment on the plane can help so take a nap or eat a snack to hold you over until that first full meal when you land. You can even try pre-adjusting to your new schedule before you leave home to get your body prepared for the new times it will be eating and sleeping.

Arrive Early


If you're traveling for business, don't fly in hours before that important meeting. Try to fly in a day or two early to get yourself into top shape. For vacationers, fly in a day early even if that means staying a single night at a cheap hotel before moving onto your "fun" vacation hotel.

Eat Smart


In the same way you should avoid alcohol and coffee, avoid fatty and greasy foods as well. Enjoy a healthy meal with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Start this a day or two before you travel and continue it a day or two when you land. Need ideas? Try Matt's Miracle Salad Recipe.

Ready. Set. Go!

Hopefully these top jet lag cures will help you on your next flight! You may also enjoy reading Travel Tips For Flying and TSA Survival Guide.
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