It’s an inevitable part of traveling internationally – the dreaded jet lag. Particularly bad cases can even leave you yawning, napping and snoozin’ for days on end while your friends go out and take advantage of being perfectly adjusted (wtf? how?) to the time change. I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a jet lag master (please, hold your applause) and I figured it’s about time to pass on my tips to all you globetrotters.
CHANGE YOUR BEDTIME
Starting a few days before you leave, let your bedtime shift in either direction. Flying East to Europe? Try to be in bed (without your face buried in Instagram) a few hours before what you think is appropriate for a grown-ass adult. Heading to Asia? Harness your inner night owl and binge watch Orange is the New Black so you can start shifting your circadian rhythm to one that won’t ruin your first night in Hanoi.
WATCH THAT WATCH
The number one thing I do – without fail – while I’m traveling is change the clock on my phone (or your watch if you’re into those). Each time I get my tush in that plane seat, I grab my phone and change the time zone to the one that I’ll be landing in for my final destination. This simple act tricks your brain and starts that shift of your inner clock to benefit you once you land. Start sleeping, eating, and snacking according to what the time on your phone says, not what your body says. Having a tough time with this one? Well then, that brings me to my next point…
COFFEE AND MELATONIN, ANYONE?
I’m not one to condone medicating (especially when you don’t actually need it), but if it means that you’re properly sorted as soon as you touch down in Amsterdam, what the hell! I’m in. Melatonin is a supplement you can find in the vitamin area of your local pharmacy, and it’s basically a hormone that your body naturally produces to make you sleepy at the right time of day! So it’s the perfect tool to help you fool your way into skipping the jet lag all together. Again, according to that time on your phone, drink plenty of water and coffee when you should be awake and pop some melatonin to knock you out when you shouldbe snoozing. Take this one with a grain of salt – if you’re not into taking supplements for the sake of avoiding jet lag, just grab your headphones, put on your favourite chill album and do your best to catch some zzz’s.
KEEP YOUR BUTT OFF THE BED
You did it! You made it! Woohooooo! Now, the struggle is to stay away from the beautiful mattress which is beckoning your name. You and I both know that as soon as your bum makes contact with your hostel bunk, you’ll be out like a light. Obviously if you arrive in the middle of the night, you’re one of the lucky ones and can pass the heck out. If it’s daytime, take this opportunity to throw down your bag, brush your teeth, (hopefully) reapply that deodorant and then head out to explore. Just. Stay. Awake.
STICK IT OUT
It may seem impossible at first, but just be a trooper and keep on keepin’ on! Do your best to make it until at least 8pm; you’ll thank me in the morning when you wake up at an almost regular time. Jet lag isn’t that scary when you tell it who’s boss.
I promise that if you remember these simple little tricks next time you head out on the road, you’ll be happier than a backpacker at happy hour. Got anymore tips that you keep in your back pocket? Let us know in the comments below! And then come visit us this summer and meet your new best friends at Free & Easy!