6 Strategies to Overcome Jet Lag

You know that feeling when you step off the plane, full of excitement and curiosity, and then SMACK! Fatigue just hit you right square in the face. We hate to say it, but say hello to your constant travel buddy, jet lag!

This is a term used to describe a temporary condition that affects those who travel to different time zones. “Lag” is referring to when your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) is out of order when traveling. For instance, before you left your comfortable home, your brain would process sunlight exposure and hormone variations to tell your body when it is time to go to sleep. When it’s night time, your brain tells your body to prepare itself for sleep by increasing the production of the hormone, melatonin.

The symptoms of jet lag vary in degree for different people. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Concentration problems
  • Constipation
  • Irritability

However, you’ll be happy to know that there is a lot you can do on your part to minimize these symptoms!

1. Seek the Sun

As soon as you reach your new destination, get outside and expose yourself to as much natural sunlight as possible. Sunlight will stimulate your circadian rhythm and tell your body that it is still daytime, when it normally wouldn’t be at home. This will prevent your body from producing melatonin earlier than it should.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

It’s easy to choose that Coca Cola when the flight attendant comes around, but caffeine is the last thing you want to settle your jet lag. Caffeine and even alcohol can worsen your jet lag symptoms. In addition to that, most people don’t hydrate nearly enough when they are traveling because they are stressed and focused on reaching their final destination. Make sure you always have a water bottle on hand and are chugging it as often as possible (even if that means multiple trips to the luxurious airplane bathroom). This can help prevent headaches and gastrointestinal issues, making it possible for you to rest more easily.

3. Stay Cool!

You might already think you are the coolest person around, but that’s not what we are talking about. Temperature people, that’s what we are getting at! When you first get to your hotel or condo, adjust the thermostat and make sure the air conditioning system is working properly. To allow your body to adjust to the new environment, keep the temperature the same as you would at home. The ideal sleeping temperature is recommended to be between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. Sleeping in a cooler room helps you dive into a deeper sleep. If you know that you will still toss and turn during the night because of uncomfortable sleeping temperatures, consider bringing KulKote certified products. We aren't saying to ship a mattress across the globe whenever you travel, but find a KulKote certified pillow or blanket. Our KulKote technology will ensure to regulate your body temperature throughout the night, making it possible to sleep more soundly. There is nothing that combats jet lag like deep restorative sleep that makes you feel refreshed in the morning.

4. Try a Melatonin Supplement

If you are wired with wakefulness at night in your new environment, try taking supplemental melatonin. You can get these over the counter. This will help reduce the symptoms of jet lag by regulating your melatonin production.

5. Don’t Fill up on Lots of Food

Have you ever considered that the airplane food that you are indulging in has an influence on your jet lag? The carbohydrate-dense foods that is offered to you on the plane or during stopovers can often make your eyes feel heavy and tired. Try your best to avoid pastas, breads, potatoes, and rice. Choose more protein-rich foods; meat, eggs, nuts, fish, etc.

6. If Traveling West, Avoid Naps

If you are traveling west, your days are getting longer. This means you are going to need to stay up later than usual. Do everything you can to avoid taking a nap. Find yourself some good entertainment or take a walk around your new destination!

Since everyone reacts to jet lag differently and experiences different symptoms, there isn’t one universal trick to combat jet lag. Experiment with these tips mentioned above and see what works best for you. There's no time to waste when adventures are waiting to be had!