I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel East I handle the time difference effortlessly. Take me West and my biological clock goes coo coo with jet lag.
Till now I had only dealt with Asia, so my travelling was never hindered by jet lag, cause it only kicked in upon my return home to Europe on my beautiful island of Malta.
When I headed towards South America for the very first time this year though, I wanted to make sure I had it in the bag. This is how I kicked jet lag’s backside.
As soon as your flight departs, have a wrist watch and set it to the local time at your destination. Throughout the flight, beat the urge of thinking what time it is back home, or listen to your body for that matter and follow the new time zone. You do not have any control on what time you will be served your food, but you do have control on what time you sleep. Keep yourself entertained until it’s your new bedtime.
For how wrong it sounds – ignore your body. It’ll ask you to sleep and eat at random times, which are oh so right in the place you left, but not here. Do not give in on the first day, just because you’re tired of the travelling. That’ll set you back days. Trust me on this, start from Day 1. Here are some tricks:
Take a walk
If you feel like sleeping, but it’s still the afternoon or early evening – go for a stroll in your area. The outdoor fresh air, the sounds and the smell of food will set you back to the day time that surrounds you.
Stretching it that extra hour
If it’s almost time to sleep but you want to stretch it an extra hour so that your wake up hour would be better – go brush your teeth with cold water, it’ll make you survive that teeny bit more.
Eat at the right hours in your present location. If you’re hungry in between lunch times, snack – it’ll see you through to the next decent meal hour. If you don’t you might wake up at night with hunger pangs and you know you don’t want to.
When it is time to sleep, set your alarm for whichever time is usually reasonable for you to wake up at home. Mine is 7am. So I set the alarm and make myself sleep through the night, regardless how many times I wake up.
Make sure the room is dark but has a small opening to natural light. No matter how many times your body does wake up, breathe in, close your eyes, think of beautiful things and let yourself drift into sleep again. Stay in bed.
Until that alarm goes off, or you can see natural light seeping in:
- don’t allow yourself to get out of bed
- don’t look at your watch
- don’t play with your phone
- don’t read
I promise you, follow these steps and you’ll be tuned into your new time zone in no time!