Here are a few tips to help you avoid jet lag, and prevent it from ruining the first few days of your next vacation or business trip:
1. A few days before your trip, start changing your sleep patterns to match the schedule you will need to keep at your destination. Adjusting your bedtime by an hour a day will help you avoid jet lag during your trip.
2. Resetting your watch at the beginning of your flight may help you adjust more quickly to the time zone you’ll be visiting.
3. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. The air on planes is extremely dry, and some experts believe that dehydration is a leading cause of jet lag. Virtually everyone agrees that dehydration can make jet lag worse.
4. Avoid drinking alcohol or anything with caffeine during your flight. (That includes many soft drinks as well as coffee or tea.) Both alcohol and caffeine increase dehydration.
5. Sleep on the plane if it is nighttime at your destination. Use earplugs, headphones, eye masks or other sleep aids to help block out noise and light, and a travel pillow to make yourself more comfortable so you can sleep.
6. Stay awake during your flight if it is daytime at your destination. Read, talk with other passengers, watch the movie, or walk the aisles to avoid sleeping at the wrong time.
7. Exercise as much as you can on the flight while you’re awake. Stretch your back, arms and leg muscles, walk up and down the aisles when the seat belt sign is turned off, and squeeze a rubber ball or a pair of socks to stimulate good circulation and prevent jet lag.
8. Eat lightly but strategically. It makes sense to eat foods that support your needs and can help you avoid unnecessary jet lag conditions. Remember that high-protein meals are likely to keep you awake, foods high in carbohydrates promote sleep, and fatty foods may make you feel sluggish.
9. Some people claim that melatonin will cure a jet lag by promoting sleep. Others swear by a homeopathic product called No Jet Lag. Melatonin, which is a natural hormone produced by our bodies, can be purchased as a supplement at most health food stores. No Jet Lag is available online and at many retail outlets that sell travel supplies.
10. If you have the luxury of arriving at your destination a day or two before you have to engage in important activities that may require a lot of energy or sharp intellectual focus, why not give yourself a break and let your body adjust to the time change a little more gradually?
In addition, I do the following as well:
Use Flight Spray (www.FlightSpray.com), the first nasal hydration spray created especially for airline travlers, moistens the nasal passages, alleviates nasal dryness and helps prevent colds, flu and sore throats due to recycled airplane air. Flight Spray which is made in Maui, helps to enhance the body’s ability to fight against infection and clears the sinuses during long flights. Regular Saline solution which you get at the pharmacy works just as well.
Visine — Visine for your eyes especially if you wear glasses or contacts is a must and for everyone else it will help you to get a better sleep on the plane.
With your water, take Emergen-C. This tasty, effervescent drink is both a dietary supplement and an immune system booster. The travel-friendly packets, when mixed with 4 to 6 ounces of water, turn into a fizzy drink providing 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, various minerals and B vitamins. It comes in 15 flavors including cranberry, coffee, lemon-lime, orange, tangerine and tropical.
Any caffine free high energy boost drinks will work. I take some before I get on and as soon as I get off.
If you are prone to back or neck pain, use a neck donut as well as those stick on heat pads for your neck and back just before you plan to sleep. The warmth also helps promote sleep.