Jet lag is a total killer when travelling. At the very least you feel like you are wasting precious time walking around in a state of lethargy. So what can you do to deal with it, and quickly?
This article is one of a three-part series of Healthy Ways to Travel.
As I get older, I find I want healthier options for the products I put on and in my body. I am eating healthier and feel that the physical impact travelling has on me is less.
I wanted to share my experiences with you in the hope you might find something of value that eases jet lag. Travelling is so worthwhile, but can also be physically punishing.
I hate jet lag. I am never good when I am tired at the best of times let alone when I haven’t slept in over 30 hours apart from the odd 10-minute nap here and there on a plane.
It is not a pretty sight ad my mood is not that good either.
So how do I manage jet lag?
To start with I do everything I can beforehand to minimise it. And I am prepared for when I land because I can be a little bleary-eyed and dazed by that stage.
The direction you fly definitely affects the degree of your jet lag. Flying east to the west seems to have less of an effect than west to east.
It takes quite a few days to recover from jet lag when I fly to the States but not when I fly to Europe (travelling from Australia). I am usually tired but tend to get into a good sleeping pattern straight away.
Coming home from Europe, on the other hand, is another story. Terrible jetlag. I have learnt not to book any meetings or essential projects for the week after I get home if I can at all help it. I am usually able to stumble to my desk and work in some capacity, but meetings and running workshops are out.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your body deal with jet lag. It’s hard to enjoy your trip if you are walking around in a foggy daze, so doing everything you can to be healthy and prepared is in your best interest.
I hate feeling exhausted. And if I am travelling with one of my groups, I need to be able to hit the ground running and keep running.
This article outlines everything that I do to combat jet lag, and there are a couple of new things that I will be trying too. These are what works for me but I understand that everyone is different and what works for one may not for another.
A note about the products and Essential Oils I have mentioned in this article.
The reason dōTERRA is frequently mentioned and pictured often is that that is what I am currently using. However, I love the products of Nourished Life and trust their products to be natural and toxin free.
About Essential Oils, it is important only to buy a good quality 100% Essential Oil. Don’t be tempted to buy cheaper brands, they are usually inferior quality and will not produce the same benefits.
Find a brand you trust.
If you are interested in purchasing dōTERRA, I purchase mine from Elisha from Empowered Essentials.
For those of you who are interested in more information about Essential Oils mentioned in this article, you will be able to download the information further down in the article.
I try and eat as healthy as possible, eating clean foods with minimal carbs. If I am feeling a little sluggish to start with jet lag is not going to improve it.
I increase my intake of water a day or so before flying to make sure I am well hydrated.
And this one is not always easy, but I get as much rest as I can before the flight. Living in Australia, the flights to the States and particularly Europe are LONG!
I am a light sleeper so sleep on the plane can be elusive. I feel better if I have had as much rest as possible. So, dull and boring as it sounds, it’s early to bed for a few days before travel.
- Drink water
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat well
I try and sleep on the flight.
I use earplugs and an eye mask, but I don’t feel exceptionally comfortable with either. The biggest problem I have is trying to fit long legs into economy class seats. But I do my best.
I may have one or two glasses of wine but no more. Last time it made me feel a little sick, and I don’t want to get dehydrated. If I were good, I wouldn’t have any at all, but when I am travelling I feel like celebrating, so I don’t want to kill the buzz!
I make sure I am warm enough. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep and your cold. I have a scarf/wrap that I take travelling, and I use this as an extra cover around my shoulders. It helps a lot.
Typically I use Lemon Essential Oil or a Citrus Blend Essential oil instead of perfume, but these tend to be more energising. So I also travel with Lavender Essential Oil which has so many great uses that it is invaluable to have in my travel kit.
The scent isn’t that strong that it will affect other passengers. I just put a drop on my scarf that I wrap around myself somewhere close to my face.
And I stay away from carbs, or at least I try to. Is it just me or do others get bloated when they fly? It’s like all the air inside inflates making me feel uncomfortable. Carbs certainly contribute to that issue, so I am happy to stay away from them.
If you find you get peckish pack some snacks, like protein balls or nuts.
- Stay hydrated
- Keep warm
- Use Lavender Essential Oil to assist sleep
- Use earplugs and eyemask
At this stage, I can feel a little out of it. If I am with one of my groups and have to be ready and organised when we land, then I need to be able to focus and be clear. Freshening up in the bathroom helps, a spritz of water and lemon oil does too and so does a large drink of water.
The I will be using is my good old Citrus Blend Essential Oil or Lemon Essential Oil. Citrus oils and scents are energising. I use these every day and love them. It’s so fresh and invigorating.
- Spritz Lemon Essential Oil and water on my face for an energising boost
- Use Citrus Blend Essential Oil on wrists and the back of my neck, inhale
- Drink more water
Arrive at Destination
You get to your hotel, apartment or hostel and you are exhausted. You unpack your bag (if you’re that good) and all you want to do is dive into bed for a nap.
But instead, you should do the following things. I find they help.
Exercise. I know it’s probably the last thing you feel like but it helps. Don’t make it punishing. For me, it’s a good walk around my new surroundings. It’s also a good way to get my bearings in a new place. I like to join a walking tour as soon as I can after my arrival. It forces me to go, and I get to meet other travellers at the same time.
Freshen up. Take a shower as soon as you can. Apart from wanting to scrub off 30 hours of travel (yep that’s the average travel time from Australia to Europe!), it will wake you up before heading out.
Drink more water. Even though you may have stayed as hydrated as possible during travel, you still could be suffering from dehydration. Drink as much water as you can. This will help with headaches too.
Dap on some Peppermint Oil. It is an excellent oil to wake you up. And it’s cooling, so a dab on the temples is excellent if I am feeling exhausted.
Don’t be tempted to stay in your room to have a small “rest”. It’s pretty much a sure thing that rest will turn into a big sleep. Best to stay awake until night time at least.
BUT. There’s always a but! If you feel entirely wrecked and you have arrived early in the day, then you can try a power nap. Set the alarm for no more than an hour, and as soon as it goes off, jump in the shower and get ready to go out. Being overly exhausted is not a good thing either, so be sensible.
I know it’s not always possible to check in to your hotel if you are early. I always carry a spare set of clothes in my hand luggage. You can at least drop your bags at the hotel, change and wash up as best you can, and then head out for a walk.
I usually go in search of something to eat and coffee. I don’t like to load up on carbs. For me when I do this, I feel great for a little while and then completely tired soon after. A protein meal is what I usually look for, or at least something light. In Italy, I might order a Caprese Salad or Melon with Proscuitto.
- Shower and change as soon as possible
- Use Peppermint Oil to pep you up (or the Citrus Oils)
- Eat light protein based meal
- Take a power nap if you need one
During your trip
Try and establish a sleeping pattern in line with local time. The quicker you do this, the better you will feel.
Look after yourself, travel can be stressful on the body, pair that with jet lag and you can get run down very quickly. A lot of people get sick when they travel or just after they get home.
Plus there is nothing worse than stumbling around in a sleep-deprived daze feeling sick.
Before bed slather on some Magnesium Cream to ease muscle tension. You can read all about the benefits of Magnesium Cream here. I am ordering the magnesium cream sample pack soon. I suffer badly from restless legs, and I don’t want to endure that on the plane again. The sample pack is the perfect way to test the scents and are a great travel size.
I would love to know what you do to help jet lag? Pop it into the comments below, and I will be able to share it with our community. Thanks.
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