I don’t know about you but when I travel more than a couple of hours away from home, I suffer really badly with jetlag! For some reason it’s much worse when I travel east to than when I travel west. I think it’s a common scourge for many travellers that can lead to precious vacation days being wasted while pulling yourself out of the depths of the bleary-eyed fog that is your brain on too little sleep! Travel time is too previous to waste it trying to get over jet lag. It was time to come up with a solution!
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My typical jet lag symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, dehydration as well as stomach problems. According to the Mayo Clinic we have circadian rhythms that signal our bodies when to stay awake and when to sleep. Jet lag occurs when your body’s clock is still synced to your original time zone instead of the time zone to which you’ve traveled. The more time zones you’ve crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.
If you’re like me and suffer badly with jet lag, your circadian rhythms must be as stubborn as mine!
My Plan for How to Get Over Jetlag
When I traveled to Denmark in 2015 I was determined not to suffer my usual fate with jetlag. It was my first trip back to Denmark since we left in 1972 (I was just 8!) so I didn’t want to miss a second of it getting over jet lag. I did a lot of research to find out what might work to help with getting over jetlag and came up with a plan that really worked for me! Please keep in mind I’m not a medical professional – I urge you to do your own research before trying out any of my suggestions.
This was my plan during the flight for getting over jet lag:
• Sleep as much as possible during the flight. I’m not usually a good sleeper on long-haul flights but I managed to snooze on and off.
• Try to stay as comfortable as possible during the flight. I used a neck pillow, didn’t drink any alcohol and tried to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
• Walk the aisles and stretch a bit if I couldn’t sleep
• Eat as little as possible. Not that airline economy food is great, but I found this one difficult. Free food is free food 😉
•Set my watch to Danish local time during the flight
I was quite bleary-eyed and tired when I arrived the next morning, but I was determined in my plan. My first day included a 3 hour train journey from Copenhagen to Aarhus and I knew it would be challenging to stay awake during the ride. It’s important to get as much exposure to natural light and sunshine and adapt to the new zone right away. Instead of sleeping, I admired the beautiful scenery of waving wheat fields and charming thatched cottages 🙂
This was my plan upon arrival for getting over jet lag:
- stay awake and take in as much natural light as possible
- take 5mg of Melatonin one hour before bed for the first two nights, and 2.5mg on the third night. (make sure to add this to your packing list!)
- go to bed no earlier than 9pm so as to adapt to the new time zone.
It worked! I was able to get over my jet lag and sleep soundly that first night in Aarhus! I can’t tell you how excited I was when I woke up and figured out I was in Denmark and didn’t feel rotten from jet lag!
Another common bit of advice in getting over jet lag is to slowly change the time you go to sleep and when you wake before your trip. Although I’m sure this is a great suggestion, it didn’t make much sense for me. Perhaps it will for you!
Our next flight east is in February 2019 to Cancun! I’m planning to try out an app to help get over jet lag called Timeshifter . I’ll let you know how it works and give a full report when we get back!
How do you get over jet lag?
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