I love traveling back to the Philippines. After all, what’s not to love? You get to reunite with family, friends, and feast on native delicacies that you won’t easily find overseas.
Yet, despite these perks, there is one thing that I loathe every time I travel: JET LAG!
Ugh…jet lag, it’s a pain that almost every traveler experiences. According to studies, jet lag is a temporary disorder that generally causes fatigue and insomnia. The sleeplessness occurs because the body’s internal body clock has been disrupted due to crossing different time zones.
However, even though it is temporary, suffering from jet-lag is far from enjoyable. You can’t sleep, your head hurts and the irregular sleeping patterns can prevent you from fully enjoying your holiday.
So what are the ways that we can combat jet lag?
Below are a few hacks.
1.) Pick a flight that arrives during the day.
Personally, I find it difficult to sleep right after arriving from a flight since it’s so difficult to tone down the excitement that you are finally home!
To adjust, I tried flights that arrive in the morning and it worked well. Arriving in the morning gives you chance to go on a tour, catch-up on some chit-chat and unpack.
Most importantly, you get a chance to catch some Vitamin D from the sun (To be further explained in the next point).
By the time that it’s evening, your bushed from enjoying a busy day and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep.
2.) Light Therapy.
The sun is a powerful tool to combat jet lag. Exposure to sunlight helps to regulate our circadian rhythm which is the body’s internal clock and it regulates your sleep patterns.
So if you’re having trouble sleeping because of jet lag, avoid staying indoors and try to get outside in the sunlight. Take a walk, exercise while soaking up some vitamin D from the early morning sun.
3.) Avoid coffee or caffeinated drinks.
When you have trouble sleeping, it would be best to stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks. These will make it more difficult for you to overcome jet-lag.
Instead, try drinking chamomile tea, lavender tea or milk before going bed.
Chamomile tea helps to induce sleep because it has a calming effect on the drinker. It promotes relaxation since drinking it relaxes the body’s nerves and muscles.
Just like chamomile tea, lavender tea also promotes relaxation. According to research, lavender decreases anxiety and it improves the sleep quality of people with anxiety or anxiety related disorders. As a plus, it has an aromatic and soothing scent.
Lastly, if you don’t like tea, try drinking a glass of milk before bedtime.
Milk is a good source of tryptophan and melatonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes sleep by helping your body to produce serotonin, allowing your mind to relax and drift into sleep. Whereas, melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.
4.) Minimize sleep distractions.
Imagine this, you’re lying in bed. The lights are dim, the room is nice and cool. It’s so quiet and peaceful but suddenly, your phone flashes, there’s a new notification from messenger!
You grab your phone, unlock the screen and read the message.
You reply, then one reply leads to another, and then another…
Falling asleep is difficult if there are so many distractions that keep you awake.
To get some sleep, try to create an optimal environment that will aid you to sleep. Which includes keeping your room dark, quiet and at a moderate temperature- where it’s not too cold or too hot.
Secondly, minimize digital distractions. According to a study from Rutger University, blue light emitted from smartphones and tablets delays the release of melatonin. Furthermore, exposure to blue light before going to bed causes people to take longer to fall asleep and to experience more alertness. Which makes it even more difficult for you to combat jet lag.
To avoid yourself from being distracted with notifications in the middle of the night, make your phone less distracting by turning off notifications or you can place these alerts in silent mode.
Another alternative is to set the Do Not Disturb Setting which prevents notifications, alerts and calls from making any noise, vibration or the phone screen from being lit.
To enable the setting, below are the steps.
For Android, go to Settings then Sound & Notification and then pick ‘Do not Disturb’.
As for iOS, go to Settings then tap on ‘Do not Disturb’ to turn it on or set a schedule.
As a last resort, you can switch off your phone or set it into sleep mode.
Overall jet lag can be very frustrating to deal with. The four hacks above have been provided to aid you in overcoming it and to make your travels more audaysciously enjoyable!
- Rutgers University. (2016, January 26). Texting at night affects teens’ sleep, academic performance: Researcher finds that instant messaging in the dark makes a difference compared to having the lights on. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 25, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126162227.htm