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Never Be Jet Lagged Again!

Thwart your internal clock and avoid jet lag! Actually enjoy your first day or two of traveling! Be well-rested! This isn’t a scam!

Let’s start out with being honest with ourselves- jetlag is the absolute worst. It can go ahead and ruin the first few days of a trip; days which should be full of wonder and excitement at being somewhere new! Instead, travelers will often find themselves dozing off at the top of that double-decker tour bus and probably missing the Queen or Prince Harry walk by. Sometimes people have that superpower they don’t teach you in college to run on 2 hours of sleep, but many of us would choose to feel well-rested for a day of travelling over feeling like a zombie.

I’ve done my own fair share of travelling, and more importantly, I’ve travelled by plane to time zones on opposite ends of the earth, which is what really gets you. I’ve had the worst jetlag ever and have gone for 3 days with no sleep, and I have also successfully fought against the tyranny of time. My special trick is tried and true, and can make the biggest difference in pushing through the initial couple of days of travel feeling fresh and ready to go.

jenna peck jetlag image

Don’t wanna sleep through this!

Here’s the trick:

Slowly adjust to your destination’s time zone before you even leave. This tip, in combination with some other bits of common sense advice will thwart the hands of time from screwing up your internal clock. As you might know, jetlag isn’t caused by necessarily by the general exhaustion that you get from travelling. Jetlag is a result of your body not sleeping when you want it to and therefore exhausting you when you should be awake. Flipping time zones messes up your sleep schedule, which is sorely inconvenient when trying to wanderlust your way through the world.

Here’s how to do it:

Figure out what time your flight will be leaving in your destination’s time zone, and what time you will be landing in that time zone. The more important part of this is finding out what time you will be arriving. If you know what time of day you will be landing in your destination’s time zone, you will be able to plan your sleep accordingly, and therefore be prepared to be tired or wide-awake for whatever you will be doing when you land. (If you are prepared to be tired, you are guaranteed to get at least a few hours of sleep!)

It might be a little complicated and be annoying to plan for, but I swear to you on my push-pinned map of the world, it totally works. For example, if you are flying to LA to London and your flight leaves at 9 AM and arrives in London at 4 AM, you will probably be absurdly exhausted the entire first day in London, because you might not have slept on the plane, because it was flying during your daytime. However, if you take my trick to heart, and spend the entire night before your flight packing/getting ready/watching Netflix and sleeping very little, you will be able to sleep on the plane and be ready to go when you land. This can also work the other way, when you are super well-rested for the flight and ready to go to bed when you land! It requires a little bit of sleep adjustment before you leave, but the idea is that you start adjusting to your destination’s time days before you even get there… because it is so worth it to be able to fully enjoy your travels.

Of course, this jet lag trick should be used hand-in-hand with every other jet lag avoidance tip, including staying healthy, drinking lots of water, ignoring “what time it is at home” the second that you get to your destination, and staying busy even if you’re tired.

And then there are times that your body just won’t cooperate and you simply must take up the mantra of travelers everywhere: to accept a few minutes of sleep wherever you can get it, and keep on keepin’ on. Because you get to travel, and there is nothing better than that, including sleep.

Jenna Peck

Southern Methodist University | 17 stories

Jenna Peck is a senior majoring in History and English at Southern Methodist University from Long Beach, California. She has studied abroad in Italy, England and has recently returned from a voyage around the world on Semester-at-Sea. She loves to travel and really finds it difficult to stay in one place for a long period of time, but when she does she loves to read, explore the world of the internet, blog and find exciting things to do right at home in Dallas, Texas!


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