Abundant Travel Tips: Overcoming Jet Leg

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Jet Lag... UGH!

You know the feeling.  You land in your exotic destination, ready to conquer the world. You might even feel great when you land and start exploring, but about 3hrs later… you can’t remember your name and you don’t know which way is up! All you want to do is go to the hotel, and take an 8hr nap. Jet lag gets us all, but over the years, I’ve learned some tricks to reduce my jet lag as well as overcome the symptoms quickly. Keep reading to find out how!

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What IS Jet Lag?

Desynchronosis is the medical term for jet lag. It means that your circadian rhythm – your body clock – is out of sync. Your body thinks it’s the middle of the night, but it’s actually 10am where you are. Your system gets so confused, tired, and usually stupid.  

Jet lag tips, The Abundant Traveler

How to avoid Jet Lag

1.  A couple days before you take a long haul flight, start to adjust your sleeping habits at home. For example, if I’m flying to Europe, I’ll start to go to bed a bit earlier, and get up a bit earlier.  Even 1hr for a couple of days will make a difference in avoiding jet lag.

2.  Limit the amount of airplane food you eat. Yes, it’s fun to see what piping hot deliciousness is under that aluminum foil.  But don’t be fooled, it’s not worth the pain and suffering. Not only is this food JUNK, it messes with your body clock. Think about it: do you get up in the middle of the night at home and eat a big meal of processed food? Probably not. So why would you get on the plane and eat all that stuff?  Of course, if you are in first class, it’s a whole different conversation, but that conversation is for another day.  Personally, I usually eat a protein rich salad before I get on the plane, then just snack on nuts or granola bars during the flight. I do, however, eat some of the breakfast before we land; it signals my body that it’s morning. In addition to food, WATER WATER WATER is key to reducing your jet lag. Stay away from the booze on the plane and drink as much water as you can handle.

3.  Pay attention to your flight schedule. I’m very conscious about my flight schedules. My goal is to book leisurely layovers around 3hr before I get on a long haul flight, as I don’t want to be rushing and stressed as I board my long haul flight. I want to be cool as a cucumber, relaxed and ready to go to sleep. Additionally, pay attention to your flight departure and arrival times as you can usually pick a flight that works better for your sleep cycle. Personally, I love the direct BA flight from Austin to London. I get on the plane at 7pm, night night, and wake up for a bite of breakfast at 8am and I’m exiting the plane in London at 9:30am. Perfection!

How to Overcome it!

1.  This is crucial to overcoming jet lag.  GET OUTSIDE!  and get in the sun.  I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ve read that when bright light hits the back of your eye, it triggers your body to wake up.  Before electricity, people woke up at sunrise and went to bed not long after sunset. It makes sense that your body knows what to do when the sun is out.  

2.  While you’re in the sun, take off your shoes and walk in the grass.  You’ve been huddling yourself at 500miles an hour at 35,000 feet for the past 10hrs, and your body has no idea what’s going on. Take 15 minutes while you are enjoying the sunshine and wander around barefoot, grounding your body, and bringing it back to earth.

3.  Take a cold shower. Yes, I know, that doesn’t sound appealing, but a cold shower triggers your body to wake up. A cold shower improves circulation, boosts immunity (and we all need that after being in an airplane), drains the lymph, and helps with muscle recovery.  All good things when exiting an airplane. Read more about it here.

There are several other bio hacks for Jet lag, but these 7 things are absolutes for my travels.  What do you do to help with jet lag?

This week’s YouTube video: What to know before you go to Spain!

My goal of The Abundant Traveler is to inspire you to travel, and to make your travels easier.  I’ve always been a guide and a teacher, and I want to give YOU permission to get out there and go.   This week’s video will make your first trip to Spain a breeze, as I share 20 tips about this incredible country.

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