If you’ve ever experienced the jet lag of traveling over multiple time zones in just a few hours, you know how crippling it can be. For those doing business on different continents, jet lag can be a huge deal, especially when your mental acuity and focus are needed while you attend business meetings, create solutions, and socialize.
Traveling from East to West isn’t quite as bad, but going from West to East can be particularly devastating to your internal clock. As you travel east, you are chasing the sun. Upon landing, your internal clock might be set for bedtime and a good night’s sleep, only to find that it’s morning and you are facing hours of sleep deprivation before trying to go to bed when your body says it’s midday.
While jet lag can be hard to deal with, there are some tips to overcoming it more quickly. The key is to reset your body’s internal clock as quickly as possible, and these tips will help you do it.
Tip #1: Reduce Unnecessary Stimulation during Your Trip
Before the trip, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones and a good eye mask. While you’re on the plane, use at least the headphones to reduce audible noise, which will reduce stress and leave you calmer when you arrive (it can also help to signal a chatty seatmate that you are not in the mood for small talk). Use the eye mask while you relax and meditate or catch a nap before landing.
Tip #2: Live in Local Time Immediately
By the time you arrive at your destination, your watch should be changed to local time. Frequently refer to your watch to adjust your mindset to the new time, and engage in activities that are appropriate for the local time of day. If you must take a nap, limit it to two hours or less and either keep the lights on or open window blinds or curtains to let in the sun. This will help you overcome disorientation more quickly upon awaking.
Tip #3: Soak in the Sun
Bright lights help the brain adjust to the new time schedule, and if the day is sunny, soak up some rays. If you don’t have time to spend in the sun, try to keep things as bright as possible indoors. Avoid dimly lit restaurants and bars until the clock says it’s the local bedtime.
Tip #4: Use Aromatherapy to Wake You Up or Make You Sleepy
Fresh fruits, flowers, herbs, and natural plant oils and resins can be used therapeutically to reduce symptoms of jet lag. When you walk through a garden and inhale the smell of cherry blossoms or jasmine, you are inhaling tiny particles of the essential oils of these plants that are in the air. This is a natural form of aromatherapy. Just breathing in certain scents can make you feel more alert or more relaxed. If you won’t have time to stroll through gardens or enjoy fresh herbs and fruits during your travels, bring a few small bottles of essential oils in your luggage. Try grapefruit, geranium, peppermint, eucalyptus, or grapefruit oils for added alertness. When it’s time to go to sleep but you don’t feel tired yet, breathe in the mellower scents of lavender, valerian, vetiver, or Roman chamomile to quiet your mind and body when it’s time to sleep.
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