Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tips to Avoid Jet Lag

Good morning! I woke up a few hours ago, my first morning in Västerås, feeling awake and refreshed after a good nights sleep. Safe to say I am already on a Swedish sleeping schedule, as I was able to go to bed by 11 PM and wake up by 9 AM (bed at 4 PM Minnesota time, woke up at 2 AM Minnesota time). As I've had experience dealing with jet lag before, I knew how to avoid it- here are tips for you to also avoid jet lag while traveling across time zones!

tips for jet lag

1. Before traveling, get a good nights sleep. This one is important in order to allow your body to be fully rested- chances are, you have a long day of traveling, running around, and adjusting to do. Getting a good nights sleep before traveling will let you be refreshed and ready to tackle this long day, pushing your body just a little bit further to get adjusted.

2. The second you step on the plane, change your watch to your new time zone. Setting your watch to your new time zone will switch your mindset, and bring you to think about that time immediately. There is a big difference between looking at the time and seeing it is the middle of the afternoon versus nighttime, so try to get your mind in the right time zone immediately.

3. Adjust your schedule accordingly to that time zone. When you board the plane and have set your watch, is it dinner time? If so, eat. Otherwise, hold off until it is a meal time. Same thing goes for sleeping- is it an appropriate hour to go to bed? If so, sleep. When we left Minneapolis, it was 7 PM Swedish time- so I had dinner, and then proceeded to get a few hours of shut-eye. Same thing on our flight leaving NYC. By the time we landed in Stockholm at 9 AM, I was ready to tackle the day.

4. Upon landing, get busy. Once we landed, we had a big day ahead of us. If you are landing in the morning, schedule activities to keep yourself busy and moving, even if it is just grocery shopping or going for a walk. Yesterday, we had quite the first day in Västerås!

5. No napping- just wait until it is time for bed! This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip: Keeping busy will prevent you from napping. Napping will just mess up your sleep schedule and make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Additionally, and I know from previous experience, it is so easy to say you will take a quick nap and then fall asleep for five hours. Just avoid it at all costs! Thus, why I keep busy and try to avoid being around a couch or bed- just way too tempting!

6. At night, take a sleep aid. When going to bed, your body and mind (although exhausted) will likely still be on your previous sleeping schedule. Taking a sleeping aid will just insure that you get a good first night's sleep.

7. Get moving. This is an all-around tip- get moving, get some exercise, and get your endorphins running. Upon waking up this morning, I went out for a quick 4 mile (6.5 km) run. Getting your heart beat up will get your blood flowing and help to keep you awake for the day.

8. Drink lots of water. Another all-around tip, but drinking lots of water will ensure you stay hydrated. Of course, this is also just plain old good for your body!

Of course, these are just some general jet lag tips that I prefer. Looking information up will tell you many different things- some say to adjust your time schedule several days before boarding a plane, some say to avoid caffeine and alcohol, some say to eat meals high in protein. Do what works for you. Personally, I don't believe in adjusting your time schedule before getting on the plane-that just screws up your time at home. I had a red bull yesterday to help keep me moving during the day, ate on a normal schedule, and before bed had a glass of wine to help me wind down and sleep well. Doing what works for your is always, always, going to be the best strategy- because it works. What are some of your travel tips, and how do you beat jet lag?


  1. Great tips. I don't do that "it is 6 PM our time". I completely buy into the new time zone. Staying awake and using the sleep aid to stay asleep is great advice. When I get to my destination, I'll walk and walk and walk some more. It's like Nightmare on Elm Street until bedtime. But it is the only way not to have the jet lag monster on your back!

    1. I completely agree- the quicker you can force yourself to adjust, the better! I usually have some "my time/their time" thought in my head, but only as far as contacting people back home. Usually, I am able to get into a new sleeping schedule within a day or two as long as I am strict with myself!

  2. Wow! This looks really similar to our life. I have a 1, 3, 5 and 7 yo and we home school as well. it is nice to have some (flexible) structure to the day.
    Thank for sharing

  3. Helpful tips to stress out of long distance travelling , I first started researching the jet lag problem when we began to plan our move to Bali. Since then, all our time zone hopping has taught us a few tricks that help bodies adjust.

  4. Great tips. I have to find a lot website but this post is all i need for our this weekend trip.

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