Timezone tiredness, or jet lag, can put a huge damper on any trip — especially if you are travelling for a short period of time. Here are some tried-and-tested steps you can take to beat and recover from jet lag on your next long journey.
1. As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to the time in your destination, and start thinking in that time. This is a tiny thing that will make huge difference.
2. Sleep on the plane, unless you will be arriving at your destination at nighttime. If you are arriving at night, keep yourself awake so that you can go right to sleep once you get to your hotel or hostel.
3. Don't drink pop, caffeine (tea is okay), or alcohol on the plane. This causes dehydration and bloating which can make you feel lethargic when you land. Bring your own bottle of water on the flight to stay hydrated — you will NEVER get enough water from the flight attendants.
4. As tempting as it is, don't eat the salty snacks they hand out. Bring your own food with you to snack on. Preferably healthy stuff that will keep you energized.
5. Boost your immune system with vitamin C and electrolytes.
6. Bring ibuprofen with you, and take it while you are on the plane. Sitting for that length of time can cause aches and pains that will leave you feeling restless and anxious. The ibuprofen will relax your muscles and ease any swelling to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
7. When you land get moving. No matter what time of day, as soon as you get to your hotel or hostel, drop your bags and leave. DO NOT SIT DOWN. Fresh air, and walking around are the best ways to reset. Even if you are utterly exhausted, just walking around a new, foreign city for just 10 minutes is sure to invigorate you and take your mind off of wanting to sleep.
8. Eat and drink as you would in your regular routine. A lot of people recommend not drinking any coffee or alcohol in the first few days after you land in a new place, but I think the best way to feel normal is to keep to your routine. Did you land at 10 am, which is when you normally have a coffee and a snack? Then have a coffee and a snack. Do you usually have wine with dinner? Then have wine with dinner. It is the best way for your body to start to adjust and feel normal again.
9. HYDRATE. Don't forget to keep drinking lots of water.
10. Keep yourself awake until the time that you would normally go to bed at home. This usually means not going near your room. Keep walking, exploring, sitting in a park or a cafe, until it is time to turn in.
11. When in doubt, drink. The quickest adjustments that I have had are when my first night involves 1-10 drinks. Not necessarily the healthiest way to adjust, but hey — you're on vacation!
12. Embrace waking up early. Being wide awake at 6 am is NOT A BAD THING. At home I am a zombie in the morning, but jet lag always makes me wide awake really early. Cities are amazing to explore early in the morning, so get out there and enjoy your adventure!