How to Avoid Jet Lag: 5 Proven Ways To Reduce The Effects of Jet Lag

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Traveling to Europe, from west to east over several time zones can cause our bodies to feel out of sorts in many ways. We may have a hard time sleeping, digestive problems, light headedness, difficulty concentrating or functioning, and mood changes. This is all part of jet lag: what happens when your circadian rhythm is thrown off.

We, here, at Discover Europe are well aware of the effects, but for your benefit we have put together a list of possible aids in easing these effects. Most of these are from the Mayo Clinicbut some are from our pool of travel wisdom. We hope they help!

  • Take the Daytime Flight: Taking the daytime flight is the best/only real cure for jet lag. Your symptoms are likely to be worse or last longer the more time zones that you've crossed, especially if you travel towards the east. It usually takes about a day to recover for each time zone crossed. So, if possible, we recommend that you break up your trip by taking the daytime flight and spending an extra night in your destination or a hub city (learn more about that here!). For example, you can spend a night in a city like London for a night or two before traveling further east towards your final destination.

  • Regulate your sunlight: A key influence on your internal clock is sunlight. That's because light influences the regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps synchronize cells throughout the body. Use sunlight to reset your internal clock. It's the most powerful natural tool for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. So regulate your sunlight, if you can stay up later by a few hours during daylight hours, even though you want to sleep, it may help regulate your sleep.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Dehydration may also contribute to some symptoms of jet lag. Drink plenty of water prior to your trip, while on the plane and once you arrive.

  • Take a melatonin supplement: As a jet lag remedy and sleep aid, melatonin has been widely studied, and it's now a commonly accepted part of effective jet lag treatment. The latest research seems to show that melatonin aids sleep during times when you wouldn't normally be resting, making it beneficial for people with jet lag. Your body treats melatonin as a darkness signal, and generally has the opposite effect of bright light. The time at which you take melatonin is important. If you're trying to reset your body clock to a later time, you should take melatonin at local bedtime nightly until you have become adapted to local time. If you're trying to reset your body clock to an earlier time, melatonin should be taken in the morning. If you use melatonin, take it 30 minutes before you plan to sleep or ask your doctor about the proper timing.

  • Drink digestive tea: To get your body back to its normal digestive pattern it may need some help. There are many teas out there to help with upset stomach or constipation (Chamomile and Yogi Brand “Stomach Ease”& “Smooth Move”) Pack these away as they may be hard to find in Europe.

  • Regulate Your Medications: Make sure to keep good track of any medications that you're on because you don't want to end up skipping them or taking too many accidentally. This could worsen the effects of jet lag and throw your body off from its normal cycle.   

Just remember, jet lag is temporary, so the best practice is to wait it out and do what you can to fight the effects of jet lag.