I love to travel, obviously, but I absolutely hate the jet lag. It usually takes a few days or sometimes even longer to get over it, and by then it's almost time to return home. While there's probably no way to avoid it completely, after countless long distance trips, I have discovered a few ways to significantly minimize the fatigue and brain fog.
Gradually Change Your Sleeping Patterns Beforehand
The very best way to beat jet lag may be to gradually change the hours you go to sleep and wake up before heading out on your trip. When flying east, start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier a week or so before leaving. Do the opposite when flying west. Just be sure that it doesn't mess with your sleep schedule so much that you're not getting enough rest or you're probably going to feel even more exhausted when you arrive.
Add a Stopover
If you can squeeze in a stopover on the way to your destination, staying a night or two, it can help you more gradually adjust to the new time zone. For example, flying from Seattle to Europe, I usually try to schedule a stay in an east coast city like Boston or New York on the way.
Being well-rested before you leave makes it easier to handle the inevitable stress of traveling, and better able to deal with jet lag once you get there.
Aim to Sleep If You Have an Overnight Flight
If you’ll be flying overnight, try to get some sleep on the plane. I've always had a difficult time doing this but bringing a bag full of "tricks" makes a significant difference, including ear plugs, an eye mask and a neck pillow. You might also try adding melatonin to a cup of herbal tea. Avoid alcohol as it will just amplify the effects of jet lag in the long run.
After spending much of her life in a cubicle, at 40-something K.C. decided to finally LIVE. Today, she is always on some sort of adventure, or writing about it.
She hopes her journey will inspire you to do the same.