When travelling to countries with different time zones, jet lag can really mess up holiday schedules you’ve spent hours planning. Experts from physical training programme Premier Fitness Camp share top tips on adjusting your body clock and getting enough rest at the right time of the day.
1. Avoid alcohol
Booze may seem like a good choice as a relaxer or sleep aid, whether at the hotel or on the plane but it can disrupt sleep cycles later in the night. You don’t have give up the good stuff completely – just have a glass with dinner and skip the night cap.
Both full-spectrum light exposure and cardiovascular exercise assist in maximising alertness. So taking a walk or jogging outdoors the first morning after you arrive can be very beneficial in shaking off effects of jet lag.
3. Block out noise and light
When you want to sleep, use noise-cancelling earphones or ear plugs and eye covers to minimise stimulation from light or noise.
4. Practise relaxation techniques
Help yourself relax by incorporating techniques that relax your mind and body. Try simple meditation, slow deep breathing, and visualising tranquil scenarios. Relax your body starting at your toes, then gradually focus on relaxing each part of your body till you finally get to your face and scalp muscles.
5. Adjust to the new time zone as soon as possible
On the plane, go to sleep and wake up at the same times you would at your new destination. That prepares your mind to be best able to go to bed and wake up at the new times.
6. Don’t use your brain before bed
Avoid answering work emails, watching TV programmes or reading complex material before bed. Working your brain keeps your body awake.
7. Turn off the screens
The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt sleep by stimulating daytime hormones. Reduce exposure by switching off TVs, phones and computers at least one hour before bedtime.
8. Stay away from sleeping pills, caffeine and sugar
Minimise taking prescription sleep medication as it can disrupt normal sleep cycles. Also avoid too much caffeine, sugar and simple carbohydrates when it’s near bedtime. Instead, try incorporating natural substances such as melatonin or tryptophan, which can be beneficial. In addition, vitamin D3, omega 3 and GABA supplements all support normal sleep physiology.
This article was originally published at Silverkris.