By Tammy Matthews, Colorado State University
How should you combat jet lag? For one, be gentle with your body! Follow these other tips to combat jet lag.
Be proactive and prepare in advance. Simulate your new schedule before you leave. Adapt to it before you leave, on the plane and when you land.
Several days before your flight, move your bedtime. If you’re traveling east, get to bed earlier. Do the opposite if traveling west.
Move your mealtimes closer to those of your new destination. Some people try jet-lag crash diets, but the best idea is to adjust your schedule slowly.
Ideally, select a flight that allows early evening arrival; then, stay up until 10 p.m. local time. Mine arrived at 9 a.m., which might explain the prolonged lag. If you can’t keep your eyes open, take a short, early-afternoon nap that lasts no more than two hours.
Switch your watch or cell phone time zone when you get on the plane. Sleep in flight if it is nighttime at your destination or stay awake if it is the day. An eye mask or earplugs might help minimize distractions. (They certainly work in city apartments when your neighbors are particularly rambunctious late night.)
Moreover, during your flight, get up and walk around periodically, do some exercises and stretch. You limbs and back will thank you.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol about four hours before your bedtime, as they act as stimulants, disrupt your sleep and cause dehydration. Drink a ton of water before, after and during your flight. If, however, you find yourself droopy-eyed in the middle of your Barcelona SAE orientation, take a short walk to the local coffee shop. Grab a *CAFÉ CON LECHE* (coffee with milk) for a subtle pick-me-up. Café solo is a single espresso. While delicious for other days, drinking one will not help you overcome jet lag.
As I learned, these are not always the easiest adjustments, but they are worth the effort!