Depending on how long you’ve been following me, you may or may not know that I have lived quite the gypsy lifestyle!
Every Aussie knows that if you’re going to make the effort to leave overseas from Australia, you may as well go for a while – I took this advice to heart probably a little too much.
For about 7 years, I lived overseas from my home country, Australia – and for about 5 or 6 of those years, I travelled roughly every 5 days to a new country, for at least 9 months of the year. So you could say that I’m qualified to speak on behalf of the jet lagged!
Here are my top 6 tips and tricks to beating jet lag – tried and tested from the gypsy herself:
1. Throw off your sleep patterns before you leave.
This is the fun part if your schedule allows for it. I give you full permission to take a random afternoon nap, stay up late binge watching a couple of extra episodes of your latest Netflix addiction, or simply sleep in longer than you would normally let yourself – but just for a day or two before you leave. I find that if my body is already a little out of its regular routine, it’s not so hard to completely break it when you hit a new time zone.
2. Change your watch and device clocks to your destination time zone* as soon as you get on the plane.
Try to stay up while on the plane, and sleep in the new time zone pattern, even if it’s intermittent. If you can’t sleep because you’re uncomfortable, try to meditate, watch a movie, or listen to music with your eyes closed and just focus on some relaxed breathing. Enjoy the time to just simply switch off for a bit.
**DISCLAIMER: If you’re connecting in another country, make sure you don’t miss your flight as a result of having your watch on your destination time zone….I may or may not have made this mistake.
3. If you’re tired in your new destination, get up and walk around.
Landing at 6am and then staying up the whole day can be hard! When you feel yourself getting sleepy, go for a brisk walk, see something new, take yourself to a cafe for a coffee or an iced tea. Stimulate your brain and keep moving until the 3pm jet lag funk passes.
4. Master the power nap.
Especially if you have dinner plans and don’t trust yourself to not fall asleep in your bowl of pasta, take a *MAXIMUM 30 minute* power nap 1-2 hours before you need to go out. In university, I learned to place my phone or alarm clock outside the room so that I would have to get up to turn it off, and I still use this trick to this day when I’m nervous I’ll press snooze in my sleep. Once you’re out of bed, it’s not actually so bad. Take a shower and you’ll feel awake and refreshed again, and this will buy you a few extra hours.
5. Try the sleep aids.
Even if you never touch them in your every day life, Chammomile Tea, Lavander Oil, Valerian or my favourite Melatonin are all great natural (and non habit-forming) ways to help wind down and get yourself to sleep when your body is confused. US drug stores like CVS and Walgreens also sell ZZZquil which will knock you out fairly substantially, but I can often feel groggy the next day if it’s not a natural formula.
6. The 5:30am cutoff.
If you’re able to sleep through the whole night and past 5am – you’re one step ahead! Repeat the process so you don’t fall into bad habits, the second day can often be the hardest one. If you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed from 3am, don’t get out of bed until at least 5:30am. If you’re up around then, it’s okay to get up and profit from your day! Go for a walk, do some yoga, have a cup of tea and watch the sunrise. You’ll probably feel tired in the afternoon, but you can totally repeat steps 3 and 4 to get you through!
I hope you like these tips, let me know if you have any great ones to add, or would like more articles with tips on travelling!