In this report, we review tips that will help you beat the effects of jet lag. Traveling from New York to London takes about seven hours. In the days after your arrival, you will have the desire to wake up at 2:00 pm and not go to sleep until 3:00 am. Sometimes this effect, known as jet lag, can play in your favor. For example, if you want to club until 3:00 am the night after getting in, this is totally viable while under the proper jet lag conditions.
For the most part, however, jet lag is a drag (literally). It can cause fatigue and sleep disturbance, which only adds to the long list of things that adversely affect a traveler’s health.
The basics of mitigating jet lag are simple things that travelers should be doing anyway. These basics include eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep the night before your flight.
Before we get into more detailed ways to help with jet lag, it is important to note that jet lag has both magnitude and direction. The more time zones you pass, the worse the Jet lag will be. Additionally, you will either be traveling forward or backward across zones. One must consider the direction and magnitude of jet lag when figuring out how to cope.
The biggest thing to keep in mind with jet lag is that the best way to recover is time. A great rule of thumb is that every time zone crossed will add one day to your recovery time. Therefore, if you travel across 7 time-zones, it will likely take a week to completely recover.
Scenario 1: Travel forward in time by 6 hours
This is the time difference between the east coast of America and Western Europe, among many others. If you are traveling ahead by six hours, it is best to try and arrive early in the day (via red-eye). This way, when it comes time to sleep, you will have spent an entire night on the plane and day at your destination before having the chance to properly sleep. You will probably want to pass out at the same time as the locals (if not earlier) and will sleep like a baby!
Scenario 2: Travel back in time by 6 hours
This can be more difficult than the first scenario, mainly because instead of staying up all night, your eyelids will probably start getting heavy at 6:00 pm (if you are an evening person, this will definitely be the tougher adjustment). It is better to arrive later in the day, so you can go to bed at a similar time as the locals. You will probably wake up very early, so the later you go to bed, the more “normal” your wake-up time will be.
Again, the best way to get over jet lag is by giving yourself time (one day per zone). Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and staying hydrated, as well as planning your flight times appropriately, will also give you a good start to an effective recovery.
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