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I’ve been wandering the world for most of the last five years and I rarely get lagged anymore. Here are my best practices!
1. Switch to your destination’s time zone 4-8 hours before boarding your flight
This is the biggest key to success. If it’s 10pm where you are but it’s 2pm where you’re going, stay up as late as you can. If you adjust to your next time zone during your flight, then it will be exponentially easier to be on that time zone when you arrive.
Jet lag is a mental issue for a lot of people because they get caught up in thinking about what time it is where they came from. As soon as you get on the plane, only focus on the timezone that you’re going to.
When I see people on planes sleeping during the origin’s time zone and not during the destination’s time zone, I know for a fact that they’re going to be jet-lagged when they arrive.
2. Sleep on the plane during your destination’s night time
You want to make sure that you sleep as much as you can during your destination’s normal sleep hours.
The biggest keys to sleeping on planes are:
- Use noise-canceling earphones (or at the very least, earplugs)
- You don’t realize how deafeningly loud planes are until you start using something to reduce the noise
- This is one of the best purchases that I’ve ever made. I put in earphones, put on a gentle stream background from Calm.com, and I sleep like a baby.
- Take some sort of mild sleeping aid pill to force your body to rest
- I use Benadryl to push my body into sleep mode but some people recommend melatonin. This is highly effective!
- Buy a window seat or a neck cushion
- I always buy a window seat and rest my head on the wall. Some people prefer the aisle and to use a neck cushion. Find what works for you and do it!
3. After you arrive, do NOT go to sleep early or take long naps during the day
Whatever you do, do not go to sleep before 8pm on the first night at your destination. If you go to sleep early on the first night, then it will be very hard to recover because you’ll feel out of whack.
4. Stay hydrated and don’t drink alcohol
It’s tempting to drink to celebrate your travels but don’t do it. Your body and mind are going through a confusing time period, don’t make the transition more challenging by dehydrating yourself.
There are lots of other things that you can do to minimize jet lag but these are the core concepts that will make the biggest difference. Best of luck in your travels!