Avoid jet lag with the following tips, compiled by a host of travelers and researchers. They will help ease the stress and fatigue from any length air travel, and should moderate the biological clock-resetting process necessary to counter jet lag.
Checking Into Your Hotel:
Remember that the ideal bedroom environment for good sleep hygiene is quiet, dark, cool, comfortable and secure. The better your hotel accommodation meets these criteria, the better your chances are for a good night’s sleep.Some hotels have designed special rooms for weary travelers. Hilton has “Sleep Tight” rooms in some properties, complete with special soundproofing, sleep gadgets and minibars stocked with sleep-inducing snacks. In any case, be a wise traveler:
You can limit noise by reserving a room on a high floor if on the street side of the hotel. Request that your room not be close to elevators, stairways, vending or ice machines, and hospitality suites. If that’s not possible, prepare to use your earplugs. Sometimes the air conditioner fan can be used to mask unwanted noise.
Sunny Side Up:
Ask for a room with an eastern or southern exposure for more morning sun, making it easier to become alert in the morning. If south of the equator, get a room with an eastern or northern exposure. If you aren’t pleased with the location of your room, ask for a room change before you unpack your bags.
Pull the heavy drapes closed at night to keep out city light and reduce noise.
Keep the room at 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoon and night. Check the thermostat as soon as you arrive and call the management if there is a problem.
Request extra pillows or blankets when you check in. Maid service is sometimes hard to come by late at night. If you have a special pillow that nearly always ensures sleep, bring it along.
Pack a nightlight and plug it in so you can navigate the room without turning on a bright light.
Don’t Be Bothered:
Before you turn in make sure the door is bolted and a “Do not disturb” sign is on the outside doorknob.
Set your alarm clock and leave a wake-up call request with the hotel operator. This provides double insurance that you’ll wake up on time. Ask the operator to hold all calls until morning. Turn off the light, knowing you’re prepared for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Day One at Your DestinationSchedule Yourself:
On arrival, follow the meal pattern and sleep-wake schedules appropriate at your destination. If you’ve flown eastward and it’s still the middle of the night according to your biological clock, yet morning according to the time at your destination, don’t go to bed at the hotel for a few hours, even though you’re exhausted. It will only delay the necessary resetting of your internal clock. Hoteliers report that eastbound travelers who intend to “take a short nap” because they arrive early in the morning after an all-night flight often sleep for six to eight hours if not awakened by an alarm clock or a call from the front desk. So much for the first day at your new location…It’s far better to push yourself through that first day and fall into bed early that evening, exhausted but ready for a good night’s sleep on local time.
Getting some exercise, even a brisk walk, after a long flight will raise your endorphin levels. This in turn will reduce stiffness and pain, relax your muscles, help suppress your appetite, and create feelings of optimism and happiness.
Wait on Business:
Business executives, government officials and athletic teams should delay doing business or engaging in sports until the second day abroad after more than a five-hour time shift. Otherwise, mistakes will be made, negotiations will suffer and games will be lost.
All of the above suggestions should minimize the burdensome effects of adapting quickly to a distant time zone. If you’re still miserable for several days, perhaps next time you should think about traveling by car, bus, train or ship. When you cross multiple time zones slowly your biological clock can handle the gradual time changes quite easily.
In the good old days there was no such thing as jet lag. Life was slower, travel was slower. There was less insomnia. People were more alert.Times have change, but progress does not always make perfect.