If you’ve embarked upon any sort of overseas adventures, you know what I’m talking about. Whoever said you can sleep in the upright position is a liar, and don’t even get me started on common courtesy and etiquette in the cabin when flying. Some people just don’t get it. That’s another post in and of itself. While this post touches on happenings while flying, it’s also about what you can do pre and post trip to kick jet lag’s ass. I’ve been flying overseas for years and thus, have been around the
block globe a few times to know what’ll have you enjoying a vacation upon wheels down.
1. It All Starts Before the Journey
Pack early and get lots of rest. Flying around the globe is stressful, so ensure you have plenty of time to plan what you want to take and how to leave your house behind. Many studies have suggested changing your sleep routine: Going east? Start going to bed earlier. Going west? Go to bed later to prep your body. But, honestly, who really does this? Maybe I’ll make it a New Years resolution…
2. Get Comfortable
If you can book it, do it. First Class makes a world of difference in terms of feeling comfy, but it just depends on if you can finance the 35,000 ft luxury. LAN Airlines incorporates lay-flat beds in their 18-passenger Premium Business Class, complete with down comforter and noise canceling headphones. As a frequent guest of the airline, this was one of the highlights of my traveling career.
3. Stay Hydrated with Water & Juices
This one isn’t mind-blowing, but many people tend to hit the alcohol before washing down dinner with water. When you’re dehydrated, you’re irritable, tired and weak. Nobody wants to be around that guy. Don’t be that guy.
4. You Booze, You Lose
So the flowing vodka cranberries may initially help you fall asleep, but the quality of sleep will be poor. It’s just like college, y’all. If you pass out, you will not wake up feeling awesome. Also, it’s probably not a great idea to throw a rager the night before traveling. I’ve flown across the world hungover before, and it’s beyond painful. Think migraines, crying kids, zero sleep and crappy food for 15 hours. Won’t make that mistake again.
5. Eat Light with Lots of Protein
Everyone has their guilty airport snack. Mine entails vanilla lattes and probably anything behind the glass at Starbucks. However, eating large amounts of protein will have you feeling more energized. LAN knows their stuff by using 2.36 million eggs annually for breakfast omelets. Not an easy feat getting all that protein up in the air!
In-flight entertainment is a godsend for two reasons: 1) Time flies when you’re having fun, and flights seem shorter when you’re entertained. 2) I don’t know about you, but I often drift off to sleep while lazily watching movies. On certain planes, LAN incorporates a collection of 110 movies, including 12 new releases, 8 recent hits, 10 Latin movies, 10 children´s movies, and 70 classic movies from across the decades, plus 42 TV programs, a full season of 3 TV series, more than 1000 music albums, and 25 games…just to name a few! I think this is beyond enough material to tire anybody out.
7. Sleep on the Plane
This one’s a no-brainer. I hope that you’d try to sleep during the long flight instead of geeking out with SVU marathons on the entertainment system all night. Even a few hours of sleep during a transatlantic flight helps immensely.
8. Sleep Prescriptions
If you do a lot of traveling, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know with this one. Since I’m always on an airplane, I’m prescribed a sleeping aid that works wonders for my circadian rhythm. I’m not promoting a pharmaceutical, but Ambien has become my good friend over the years. It’s not for everyone, though, so consult a doctor!
9. Don’t Fall Asleep Once at Your Destination
This is Traveling Overseas 101. I’ll never forget my first time in London. I fell asleep in the hotel upon check-in and woke up around 8pm…just in time to eat dinner and try to fall back asleep after being comatose for 10 hours. Adjusting to your new time zone is imperative on the first day. It’s worth the pain, I promise.
10. Get Anchor Sleep
The minimum block that your body’s internal clock needs to begin adjusting to the new time zone is four hours. This anchor sleep trains your body to operate on a 24-hour rhythm, vital for adapting to new time zones.
11. Get out and Exercise
For me, this one is probably the least enjoyable but the most successful way to beat jet lag. Exposure to daylight and moving around will undoubtedly help you to adjust.