As summer is now in full swing, many people have booked trips overseas. We are planning a trip to South Korea this summer, and as I was planning full days of activities it occurred to me that when I normally go to bed Pacific Standard Time, I should be waking up Korea time. Yikes! How am I going to adjust to that?
After a bit of research, here are some tips to avoid jet lag after a long flight:
- Get plenty of rest before your trip. This will help you be more resilient to the effects of jet lag.
- Gradually adjust your schedule before you leave. If you’re flying east, start going to bed and waking up earlier in the days leading up to your trip. If you’re flying west, start going to bed and waking up later.
- Properly time bright light exposure. When you arrive at your destination, expose yourself to bright light as soon as possible. If you’re flying east, get outside and enjoy the sunshine. If you’re flying west, avoid bright light in the evening and try to use artificial light to keep yourself alert.
- Stay on your new schedule. This is the most important tip. It can be tempting to sleep in or stay up late when you first arrive at your destination, but this will only make jet lag worse. Try to stick to your new schedule as much as possible, even if it means going to bed early or waking up early.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with sleep, which can make jet lag worse.
- Exercise. Exercise can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to get some exercise both before and after your flight.
- Nap with caution. Naps can help to make up for lost sleep, but they can also make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you do nap, try to keep it short (no more than 30 minutes) and early in the day.
- Be patient. Jet lag can take a few days to adjust to. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel 100% right away. Just give your body time to adjust and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Here are some additional tips that may help:
- Take melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. You can take melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep at the right time.
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- Use a white noise machine. A white noise machine can help to block out noise and create a more peaceful environment for sleep.
- Make sure your room is dark and cool. Darkness and cool temperatures are ideal for sleep.
- Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol before bed. This can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Get some sunlight in the morning. Sunlight helps to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Try to relax and de-stress before bed. This will help you fall asleep more easily.
It’s also important to boost your immune system before long flights.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is essential for overall health, including immunity. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are packed with nutrients that support the immune system.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps to reduce stress and inflammation, both of which can weaken the immune system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Get enough fluids. Staying hydrated is important for overall health, including immunity. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Get vaccinated. Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect yourself from infection. Make sure to get vaccinated against the flu, pneumonia, and other diseases.
- Take probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your gut health. A healthy gut is important for a strong immune system. You can get probiotics from fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or from probiotic supplements.
My favorite go-to probiotics (and my Mom’s and my Husband’s) – BioKult.
Have a great summer & stay healthy!