According to the American Sleep Association, nearly 93% of all travelers will experience jet lag at some point in their journeys.
Although symptoms and their severity can vary widely from individual to individual, most travelers can expect to take one day per time zone they've crossed in order to adjust. Once they've arrived, they can expect to suffer symptoms including sudden bouts of fatigue, nausea or ill-timed hunger pangs, disorientation, and sleeplessness.
Fortunately, if you know you have a big trip coming up, there are a few things you can do in advance to mitigate the effects of jet lag on your trip.
Says the American Sleep Association:
The best method of combating jet lag is to plan ahead of your travel time by slowly adjusting your schedule to incorporate what will be your temporary new routine. This slow adjustment is not at all hard on the system, and will nearly eliminate the major effects of jet lag caused by circadian disruption, though jet lag may still be experienced due to other factors.
When returning from a short-term trip, however, you might not have enough lead time to accomplish this slow and careful preparation. In that case, travelers might find themselves forced to jump right back into full schedules while still suffering from acute jet lag.
Fortunately, there are some practical steps that travelers can take to help them readjust, especially in relation to sleep cycles.
How to Readjust
Step One: Leverage Your Beverage
Although it will be tempting to use a glass of wine to fall asleep or a cup of coffee to perk you up, both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, a serious issue for those trying to recover from jet lag. They can also be hard on the stomach, and a digestive system on its way back from a trip generally doesn't need any more complications than it's already dealing with.
Additionally, most travelers wind up dehydrated simply by the nature of air travel itself.
Research has demonstrated that relative humidity inside the cabin of an airplane can drop to 10% within two hours of takeoff. In addition to this, people who are traveling are out of their routines and less likely to remember to drink enough water. All of this can lead to some pretty serious dehydration, and dehydration makes jet lag symptoms so much worse.
So instead of doubling down on cocktails and coffee, up your water intake.
Start the morning of a long flight with a jug of water in hand, avail yourself of water when it's offered by the flight attendants, and treat yourself to a tall, cold glass of water upon arrival at your destination.
You won't regret it. (Note: When traveling, always be sure the water's safe before you drink it. Otherwise, you might regret it.)
Step Two: Un-illuminate
Remember: your body is used to following dependable cues. Sometimes you can use this to your advantage by triggering sleep through manipulation of light and darkness.
The amount of light you're exposed to will make all the difference when it comes to changing your sleep cycle. Trick your body into thinking it's time to get some shut-eye regardless of the actual hour by keeping your bedroom as dark as possible. Similarly, an extra bright room will tell your body it's time to wake up (HuffPost).
So make good use of those drapes. If you're blessed with a long, bright summer evening but would like to head to bed a few hours early in order to catch up on missed sleep after a long flight, yank them shut early in the afternoon. Convince yourself that it's almost time to go to bed by dimming the lights and starting your regular evening routine.
Likewise, in the mornings, get up right away and expose yourself immediately to bright light. No slow starts with just the closet light on these days; at least, not until you recover from jet lag.
Step Three: Own It
Probably the most effective step to getting over jet lag is to own it. Rather than living in denial and trying to power through a situation in which your body is clearly trying to exert control, learn to expect that jet lag is probably going to knock you for a loop. Only once you've recognized that it's probably going to happen can you become proactive toward helping yourself get over it quickly.
Since jet lag is likely inevitable, try to plan for it. Instead of resenting the need to readjust, lean into the remedies.
In addition to taking the steps addressed above, try to plan your trip so that you have a day or two at home to adjust before returning to work. Not only will this extra time allow you to process your vacation (and upload all those sun-drenched photos to social media) but it will also give you a chance to get your jet lag out of your system.
By owning your jet lag, you can make sure it doesn't own you.
We Can Help You Recover from Jet Lag
Although we are not volunteering to literally come to your house and help you adjust from jet lag (because I don't think either of us really wants that), we are here to help you find the best and most comfortable mattress at the most affordable price.
Here at Nest Bedding, we want to help you reach your best and fullest night's sleep. We have proven ourselves an industry leader, and we can't wait to help more people reach their optimum sleep levels, jet lag or no jet lag.
If you often travel internationally for work or pleasure, we are pleased to provide you access to the type of mattress that will help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Remember: if you buy it at Nest, you'll be buying the best!
To hear more about our premium products and services, or to talk more about how to ensure a quality night's sleep, please feel free to contact us at any time or visit one of our U.S.-based showrooms, where our skilled staff looks forward to answering any and all questions. We're friendly, non-pushy, and pretty darn nice.
So come by and see us.
We look forward to serving you.