Avoiding jet lag on business trips

Jet lag is often thought of as an unavoidable side effect of traveling, but corporate travelers know this isn’t true. When you’re required to be wide awake and in top condition halfway around the country or world, jet lag just isn’t something you have time for. Fortunately, the experienced know many tips and tricks for reducing or even eliminating jet lag when traveling. Each person may experience jet lag differently, so if you know what works for you stick to the tried and true. For those who may not be so experienced, or who are looking for their own tried and true, the following tips from frequent corporate travelers will help you avoid jet lag on business trips and vacations so you arrive fresh and ready for anything.

First, an understanding of what jet lag is, exactly: symptoms include a lack or aware or alertness, sleepiness, wooziness, headaches, and inability to sleep. Depending on which direction you travel (with or against the turn of the earth), your symptoms may be more severe. The human body often cannot quickly adjust to time change, and it gets worse when that time change crosses the day line. Red eye flights can compound matters if getting to sleep is difficult for you, but they can also be a fast way to adjust for those who have no problem sleeping on planes. We gathered a list of ways the expert fliers avoid jet lag – try them out and see what works best for you.

  • Prior to travel, it may be worthwhile to adjust your schedule accordingly. For instance, if you are only traveling across one time zone with an hour difference, start waking up and going to sleep an hour earlier for a couple of days. If you still wear a watch (old school style!), adjust your watch during takeoff to avoid any confusion.
  • Booking an overnight flight may help your body to adjust more accurately (but if sleeping is already difficult this may not be your best bet). This way you are sleeping through most of your flight and getting the rest your body desires so you can wake up ready to start the day when your destination is. If you have the opportunity to fly business class and can lie down, this option is excellent.
  • Speaking of sleep, make sure to keep with the time. If it’s daylight during your flight, stay awake. If it’s dark, catch some z’s. Trying to force the opposite will not go well for your body.
  • Eat at the right times. Try to plan out according to what the time is at your destination, rather than what the time is during your travel. Airlines typical serve meals and snacks based on the time of travel, so plan around that. Buy something from the airport snack shop to eat on the plane.
  • Even though a trip to the airport bar is a mainstay for many travelers, you should avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration and may worsen symptoms of jet lag. Additionally, the high altitude will alter the effects of the alcohol. One drink in the sky is equal to two, maybe three when both feet are on the ground. Same for caffeine: it dehydrates your body and can mess with your sleep schedule.
  • Drink lots of water!!!! One 8 ounce glass an hour is just what the body needs.
  • Avoid the worst airports in the world, if possible.

Upon arrival, there are steps that can be taken to help alleviate jet lag:

  • Get outside! The fresh air will do you good, as will the beautiful sunlight.
  • Avoid sleeping until it is time to. Stay on track with the current time no matter how tired you are.
  • Speaking of current time, just as you ate accordingly on the plane, do so once you’ve hit the ground. Stick with the time zone.
  • Exercise is always key to feeling better; don’t give up on it just because you’ve been traveling. A lit exercise prior to bedtime will help you sleep like a baby. Remember to wake up and get that work out in early for extra energy throughout your day!

Is there an unusual method that’s tried and true for you? Share in the comments!

Image courtesy of Asia Rooms