After all that time you’ve put into planning your dream vacation, don’t let jet lag drag you down.If you know that you’ll be traveling through more than 2 timezones, start preparing yourself to tackle jet lag before you even take off.

With a little bit of careful planning ahead you can reduce your jet lag symptoms and speed up recovery.

10 Easy to Follow Tips on How to Beat Jet Lag

1. ​Select a flight with an early arrival

​Opt for a flight that will give you the earliest arrival time possible. This will enable you to maximize your exposure to sunlight in your new time zone, and give your body clock a chance to catch up to speed.

This also means that despite what time of day it is where you are leaving from, you can benefit from sleeping in the air since it’s nighttime in your destination time zone.

2. Stay up until 10 p.m. local time​

Independent of when you land in your new location, you should tuck in for the night at a reasonable hour — such as 10 p.m. local time.

Whether this means keeping yourself awake for a few extra hours, or coaxing yourself to bed earlier, you’ll thank yourself in the morning when you’re able to wake up at a typical hour feeling rested and alert.​

3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine​

​While it might seem like a good idea to induce sleepiness with alcohol, or promote alertness with caffeine, both these substances are likely to negatively impact your sleep and recovery in the long run.

Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but the quality of the sleep you receive will suffer, and you might wake not feeling rested at all.

Caffeine will keep you awake, but when it comes time to sleep you may find yourself unable to do so. You can still enjoy your coffee, just do so during the morning hours of your destination time zone.

4. Get lots of sunlight​

Natural light is the strongest cue for your circadian rhythms, so the best thing you can do is to spend as much time as possible outside at your new location. Exposing yourself to the natural variation in light from dawn to dusk.

If you’re going to be indoors, take regular walks outside to expose yourself to sunlight, or sit near a window.​

5. Fast-Feast Diet​

​Takes advantage of the fact that another strong cue of our circadian rhythms is the timing of our meals.

The Argonne Anti-Jet-Lag Diet begins a four days before your flight, when you alternate between days of feasting (eating abundantly) and days of fasting (eating sparsely).

Once you board your flight, you break your final fast at a time corresponding to breakfast in your destination time zone.

A modernized or perhaps short-cut version of this diet recommends that you simply fast for 12-16 hours before eating a meal at breakfast time in your new time zone. [1]

6. Take melatonin supplements​

​Taking a melatonin supplement can not only help you get to sleep at an hour congruent with your new time zone, but can actually help to speed up jet lag recovery by re-syncing your natural melatonin production.

Unlike sleeping pills, melatonin does not act as a sedative, but rather signals to the body that it’s time to sleep. It does not negatively impact the quality of your sleep, and if used correctly avoids the side effects common with sleep aid medications.

There are other options like Modafinil which is used by figher pilots to increase performance but works on passengers too. Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance though so we advice to talk to your doctor first instead of opting for self-medication.​

7. Immediately set your watch to your destination time zone

Instead of waiting until you land to turn your clock forwards or backwards, once you’ve boarded your flight right away. This may seem minor, but this little mental trick is synonymous with “fake it until you make it.”

Basically, you want to keep as much of your normal/habitual schedule — simply in the new time zone. Doing so will send cues to your body and brain that can aid in shifting your circadian rhythm into the new time zone.​

8. Gradually adjust your schedule in preparation

If you’re able to, in the week leading up to your flight you can begin to slowly shift your sleeping schedule your destination time zone. Simply go to sleep 30-60 minutes earlier/later each night (depending on your direction of travel).

This method is easiest when you are only crossing 2-3 time zones, as when the difference in bedtimes gets longer it becomes impractical.

9. Light therapy

Exposure to bright light is one of the most effective ways to cause a phase shift in your circadian rhythms — that is, to advance or delay them so they will sync up with your new time zone.

Much like manipulating your schedule to suit your destination time zone, you can use light therapy in the days leading up to your trip to minimize your adjustment period after you land. [2]

However, light therapy must be administered at precise times and durations in order to have the desired effect.​

10. Exercise

Along with light and food intake, activity level is another crucial cue your body uses to regulate its circadian rhythms.

Particularly if you already have an established exercise routine in place, it’s important to continue that routine at the same time — simply in your new time zone. [3]

So if you usually go for a run at 8 a.m. in New York, go for a run at 8 a.m. while in London.

If you don’t typically follow any workout routine, fitting in some exercise in the late afternoon to early evening is a great way to help your body prepare for bedtime.​

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