Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tips to Travel By: Combating Jet Lag

Ah, the one downside of traveling often and to far-flung locations: jet lag. What is jet lag? Simply put, its when your travel across timezones and your body is still operating in another place in the world. The sudden jump three, six, 12 hours ahead really messes up your internal clock. All things from sleeping, eating, and even your "number two" cycles get out of whack and you basically feel like crap. On top of that, if you are in a country where you don't speak the language, you are out of your mind trying to mouth and sign "Where can I find Tylenol and Imodium?" to some poor lady you grabbed off the street.

So, how do we avoid this less than glamorous travel experience? I believe complete obliteration of jet lag is impossible but here's what I do to minimize its effects and so I can start having a fun vacation, sooner.

1. Start hydrating days in advance. This is the most important thing you can do. Staying hydrated will help your body with all the extra work of adjusting. When you feel thirsty, its already too late. You should be drinking more water anyways, so get out of that chair and get your butt to the water cooler a few more times a day.

2. Drink 6-8oz of water once an hour during the flight. Keep hydrating! The plane ride dehydrates you and thats why you get a headache when you land.

3. Get up once an hour to use the restroom (you will need to from all that hydrating) and stretch your legs. Keep that blood flowing so your ankles don't swell up (kankles = yucky!).

4. No alcohol or caffeine. Now, you all know this is a tough one for me. I love indulging in these vices, especially when I'm on vacation. But both will delay your body's time zone adjustment and dehydrate you further.

5. Getting on a normal sleep cycle as soon as possible. It might be tempting to take the red-eye and then nap in those luscious, crispy clean white hotel room sheets as soon as you arrive, but do not give in! Shower, eat a big breakfast (now you can drink caffeine!), and get ready as if you would any other day. If you can usually handle an afternoon nap, sneak one in, otherwise try to stay awake until its dark out. You will be glad the next day when you feel well rested and ready to explore!

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