As a performer and trainer, I travel regularly and these long trips often have one negative result: “jet lag.” The most common symptom I experience as a result of the jet lag is a disruption in my normal sleep-wake cycle, which can be really inconvenient because I need to be in peak performance mode. If you’ve ever traveled for an extended period of time you’re familiar with the symptoms I’m talking about. You feel sleepy during the day, wide awake at night, have difficulty focusing, suffer from lack of memory, you’re irritable, you’re dizzy, you’re headachy, you have sore muscles, and often most uncomfortably, digestive upsets.
Here are some tips that I personally find useful to combat jet lag:
- A few days before my trip, I try to reset my internal clock. For example, if I am traveling to the East Coast from the West Coast, I aim to go to bed one hour earlier each night, and I get up an hour earlier than normal. This one hour difference in my internal clock really does minimize the jolt to my sleep patterns, so I try to put this tip into action any time I don’t have a last minute schedule and have a few days to prepare.
- I try to schedule daytime flights whenever possible in an attempt to avoid sleep loss and fatigue. I can then get settled at my destination, have a sensible dinner and go to sleep pretty easily. Not to say that I can’t be seen eating at a JFK Airport kiosk at midnight during a layover to Berlin, but I try to avoid that situation. And it goes without saying that you should avoid traveling when you are already sleep deprived.
- While on the plane, I wear comfortable clothes that allow me to be relaxed and not feel confined. The same goes for footwear as well. I often bring along a set of warm slipper socks with me so that I can kick off my sneakers and chill.
- During the flight I keep hydrated by drinking at least one bottle of water and avoiding alcohol, sugary drinks, and caffeinated beverages.
- You may consider a mild sleep aid like melatonin or a “bedtime” tea (Yogi Tea has a good one) should you still suffer from sleep deprivation on day two or three. This can finally get you back on track and you can snooze your way back onto your schedule. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your body as it may take you a day or two to acclimate.