Travel Hacks: How to Beat Jet Lag
Well, I've done it. I can now add "Travelled to the other side of the globe with a 4-month-old baby on my own" to my list of accomplishments. Was it stressful? Sometimes. Was it enjoyable? Mostly. Did I manage to get any work done? Sure did. (Bless you, baby who is able to sleep through the loudest of noises.)
Being an Australian resident whose loved ones live in Florida, I travel from Australia to the USA at least once a year. And I think I can finally say that I've mastered how to overcome jet lag. I have done lots of research to help myself feel my best when travelling to the other side of the globe, and thought it wouldn't hurt to share what I've learned with everyone else. So here we go. Beating jet lag in 5 steps:
1. Stay hydrated. This is probably the most important one! It's super tempting to indulge in the free booze offered on most international flights, however, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake will greatly benefit you once you land. Dehydration makes jet lag oh-so-much worse. But let's be real here, you're stuck on a plane for 13+ hours, bored out of your skull; so you're probably going to have something stronger than water at some point. Just make sure you're having a full glass of H2O in between drinks and don't overdo it. And DEFINITELY don't take any sleeping pills. Tempting as it may be, they usually just make you feel like you drank 10 vodkas, blacked out, and don't know what year it is when you land.
2. Try to stay awake until 9pm local time, and avoid taking any naps! If your plane lands at 6am and you're feeling absolutely wrecked, set an alarm for 45 minutes so you don't oversleep.
3. Eat foods that will promote sleep and reset your body clock.
- Cherries. These fruits are one of the only natural sources of the hormone melatonin, which helps your body clock adjust to your new time zone.
- Brazil nuts. They contain selenium which promotes sleep.
- Bananas. The potassium in bananas help balance out your body's salts and give you a better night's sleep.
- Turkey. Good old tryptophan gives you that warm, fuzzy, post-Thanksgiving food coma feeling.
4. Get a good night's sleep before you go! The whole "staying up the night before so you sleep better on the plane" does not work. You never really sleep well on a plane, and resting up the night before will keep you from feeling like crap during travel.
5. Invest in a good eye mask and noise cancelling headphones. Blocking out the emergency aisle lights and roar of the engine will help you rest better and longer en route. I kid you not, my infant daughter uses a macgyvered adult eye mask during travel and loves it. It really does help her stay asleep longer!
So did I have any jet lag this trip? Nope. And neither did my child, weirdly enough. But she didn't follow any of the guidelines above. So I guess I could add #6 in here: Be a baby.