I love everything about traveling. Throwing myself into and wading through unfamiliar waters, new foods, culture, rituals, and landscapes is the name of my game. The only thing that drives me crazy when embarking upon adventure, is the dreaded jet-lag.
Preventing jet lag is simple – you just have to be disciplined. This winning combination of road-tested (and proven) techniques for the next time you set off across the globe, will have you hitting the streets without hitting a wall. These painless prerequisites are to be strictly adhered to when serious about avoiding jet lag, they may seem like no-brainers, yet we’ve all broken them before. Do yourself a favor, so the additional suggestions can change the game.
Cabin air wreaks drying havoc- to keep blood flowing and cells able to adapt more smoothly, this includes not drinking alcohol, which is seriously dehydrating to all parts of the body- plus altitude quickens effects and increases hangovers which make everything worse. Stay away from high carb and fat foods, to keep digestive processes simple, and do all the logistical planning you can ahead of time, to reduce as much stress as possible when you touch down. Move your bedtime earlier for Eastbound flights, later for Westbound, a few days before your trip.
Think About Coordinates
Taking red-eyes going East generally makes jet lag worse- shoot for a daytime flight then be ready to sleep. If you fly overnight going West, let yourself watch the movie, you’ll make up for sleep when it’s nighttime upon arrival.
Your body can function with four hours of deep sleep to anchor you, then if you absolutely have to succumb to the nap, make it 45 minutes or less- I usually need those first 15 to fall asleep, and then you rise feeling refreshed, without limiting the potential for deeper rest later.
When going West, get outside to absorb some bright morning light and avoid sun in the late afternoon- going East do the opposite- keep your eyes out of bright morning light and opt for closer to golden hours. Our bodies respond to the sun far more than we understand.
Get Your Blood Flowing
Exercise gives you sustainable energy and helps you sleep better. If it’s daytime when you arrive- go to a gym, take a run, hike, swim or workout class. Not moving the energy in your body causes stagnation, which can lead to jetlag. Setting a timer for 20 minutes, getting a few good stretches in can work wonders. If you need help, reach out and I’ll give you a list of energizing yoga poses! Also, avoid screens an hour before bed- how many times and ways do we have to be told before we listen!? It makes a difference, Netflix can wait.
Get Your Feet on The Ground!
Even if just a few minutes of toes in the sand, walking barefoot on the grass and realigning yourself to the electromagnetic frequency of the earth in the place you’ve just arrived, is the fastest way to get your body acclimated to a new time zone. Your circadian rhythm (what regulates your physiological processes around the 24 hour clock- why we’re most alert around 10am, melatonin secretes in the brain once it’s dark etc.) can be easily shifted if you take time to ground within your first few hours of landing. It’s a game changer. Your body senses where you are more rapidly, even if your conscious mind takes longer to catch on. It’s one of my favorite ways to get present, reignite the inner child, and create an easy, pleasant sensation after a long flight- curling your toes in Mother Earth.
Homeopathic remedies work wonders most people haven’t discovered yet. I’m a child of homeopathy- with multiple stretches of 6+ years without doctor visits. “No Jet-Lag” pills are a great combination of helpful ingredients, mainly Arnica which relaxes muscles, eases soreness and can be purchased individually. Valerian root (fun for Game of Thrones fans, I call it Valyrian steel) can be incredibly effective for more restful sleep while adjusting to schedule. Mate, Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, and l-carnitine can all be taken orally for an internal energy boost.
Bring rosemary or peppermint essential oil with you for invigorating stimulation, and chamomile or lavender for calming.
Take some melatonin before sleeping, if you’re really struggling. You may need a little extra time in the morning, though I wake up feeling clear.
Not as intimidating as it sounds. Whether you have a personal practice or not, it’s a fabulous addition to your daily routine in a new place! I make personalized tracks, or there are tons free on youtube! What are you seeking? Peace, happiness, creativity? Meditation is about sitting quietly. Start by focusing on your breath- your body can get itself into the same regenerative state as sleeping without any grogginess, and it drastically reduces stress and anxiety.
If you still find yourself dragging- self inquiry, though challenging, can be really helpful. What did I do that I knew I shouldn’t have? What could I have been more mindful of for the sake of my body? We are the creators of this experience, there’s generally a place where we can take a little responsibility for any lack in smoothness. Forgive yourself quickly, then be more diligent next time, likely within the next month for this crowd, find the combo that works for you!