Over the last couple of weeks while traveling, one of the most popular questions I received from readers was about tips to beat jet lag. It can be overwhelming to write back to everyone individually so I decided to do a quick post for tips to help on your next trip. Through the years, I have learned a lot through trial and error. This past trip, I did the best I have done with jet lag going both ways.
If you have tips for jet lag, feel free to comment and share below!
Hydrate. This is the tip I got from the flight crew a few years back when flying to Italy. Hydrate as much as possible. You can pack a water bottle for the flight ( I usually buy a huge refillable liter bottle at the airport). The flight crew will come through with water from time to time but really push yourself to get up from watching movies and refill your cup or bottle. Flying dehydrates your body so much so this is really the key to feeling good when you land.
Move I work out the day of a long flight. I make it a priority to get my blood flowing and heart rate up. When I am leaving Paris, I will wake up early to get in one last Seine stroll or long walk before it is time to leave for the airport.
Sleep on the plane Depending on your flight time, this can be challenging. I will pick up a sleep aid such as Benadryl to help fall asleep after I eat dinner on the flight. If I can get a few hours of sleep on the flight, it is a game changer for when I land. I try to pick a flight time that is later in the day so it is easier to fall asleep at a normal time. Some of my flights have landed me in Paris at 6 am when it is midnight back in Chicago and that can be pretty brutal.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol This may be the hardest part for me but I avoid coffee on the day I fly. It is part of my daily routine but I know it helps and caffeine can be dehydrating. This also goes with drinking alcohol. I take a tiny bit of wine with my dinner just enough to help me fall asleep. ( I get buzzed off the samples at whole foods so think along those lines) Everyone is different but I stick to water and lots of it.
Sunlight/Vitamin D This is essential when you land on either side. It is harder in the Winter and jet lag can really be a drag if you don’t see sunlight. This helps get your body on the right time clock. Go for a walk if possible and soak up the sun. If your flight lands too late for a walk, make sure to get sunlight the next day. I have had my body get really messed up with the time change if I don’t see sun and I get crazy hunger pains in the middle of the night.
Adjust to the time zone schedule for sleep as quickly as possible. No naps. If you don’t sleep much on the plane, the no nap thing can really be difficult. I push through as much as I can the first day of landing. I can actually get to about midnight in Paris if I make plans with friends. On the way home, it is so much harder for me to stay awake. Depending when I land, a shower and dinner is all I need before wanting to crawl into bed. I try to make it as late as possible, 9 pm at the earliest.
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P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy Where to Eat and Drink in Paris