Are you a frequent air traveler? If so, you know that how it is to go from state to state within a day, right? This type of hectic schedule tends to be challenging, and can easily disturb your sleep.
If during your flights you change the time zone, you are familiar with experiencing jet-setting that can heavily disturb your sleep for days, if not weeks. This is common for traveling within different time zones.
The jet leg is something that you cannot avoid, and there is no cure. Simply said, you just have to deal with this.
Various studies have shown that the condition of jet lag results from disruptions to your body’s 24-hour circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm is otherwise known as your biological clock that should always be in balance if you want to have a proper body function and well-maintained sleep.
When traveling to a different time zone, your circadian rhythm is slow to adjust and will remain on the original schedule for a few days.
Luckily, some tips can help you have a good sleep schedule even when you change time zones frequently.
Revamp Your Sleep Schedule
Knowledge is the power. Flights are always, or at least usually, planned, so you know when you are going to change your time zone. Anticipate time changes by being ahead of them.
Try to get up and go to bed earlier or later in the days before your major flight (before your new time zone). Also, try to avoid naps or go to bed as soon as you arrive. These simple changes may keep you up longer.
Pro tip: It cannot harm to change your watch as well. Do as much as you can to be organized and ahead of your obligations. Thanks to so many tech features, you can easily adjust your watch to reflect the time zone you are traveling to.
If you are a mobile-only kind of person, fear not. Most smartphones today will automatically correct to the new time zone once you land, which is pretty much handy, right?
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
You might be surprised to hear just how much regular caffeine and alcohol intake can harm your body.
If you want to sleep well overall, you should avoid drinking coffee before your breakfast, and before your bedtime.
In fact, so popular nightcap can have devasting consequences to your sleep as much as caffeine has. So avoid coffee and alcohol at least 3-4 hours before bed.
This way you can avoid stimulant-caused issues with sleeping. Did you know that alcohol can worsen the symptoms of jet lag?
If you must have a beer go for the alcohol-free one.
Instead of starting your day with a large cup of coffee and ending it with a large pint of beer, try replacing these two with water.
Staying hydrated is the first step to staying fresh, recharged, and healthy.
Remember: the human body loves water. It helps the body stay on top of its performance.
Plus, drinking enough water can help you stay fit. Although your body burns calories at night, it’s not enough to lose weight.
Since obesity is a huge issue across the States, staying hydrated should be an imperative. Why? People mistake being thirsty for being hungry!
Next time when you get the urge to eat all of the sweets in front of you aks yourself – When did I have the last glass of water today?
You can realize that you need water, not food. Next to these benefits, staying hydrated is crucial when it comes to flying from one time zone to another one. Drink plenty of water before and during your flight, because it might help you adjust to a new rhythm.
Avoid Travel-Related Stress
Ok, this may be easier said but done, but you still have to try it. Thanks to the modern lifestyle, fast living, and countless obligations stress is an everyday occurrence.
Still, you should try to manage your stress level. If it could work, bring something familiar with you. Bringing elements from your home, like your favorite blanket or pillow, can ease the strange feeling of being in a new environment.
Are you worried about sleeping in, and being late? Request from the front desk a wake-up call in the morning. This way you will minimize chances of being late, and you will have a stress-free morning.
Last but not least…
Find Your Perfect Sleep Environment
No matter where you are you should do your best to stick to your sleeping routine. Make sure that you follow the usual time to get up and go to bed.
We all are affected by various sleeping environment factors that can disturb our sleep, like bedroom temperature, noise, and yes – altitude.
So, no matter what affects your sleep, be aware of which factors affect you and ensure that you do your best to sleep well regardless of other factors.
Adjusting to time zones can be tricky, but if you are persistent you can make it work, and avoiding jet lag will be fast and effective.
Filter Out Blue Light Before Bed
You cannot travel without your smartphone and other smart gadgets that help you live easier and better.
So, think about your sleeping schedule even when you aren’t traveling from one time zone to another one.
Whatever your sleep schedule, you should try to avoid completely or at least reduce exposure to blue light at least three hours before bedtime.
Various research shows that the blue light emitted by computers, TVs, smartphones and other devices (even from LED lightbulbs) can prevent the body from producing the much-needed sleep hormone – melatonin.
You can limit this light by simply dimming the brightness on every electronic device.
Luckily, companies listen to their consumers and understand how important sleep is for them, so today you have many apps and filters that you can use to dim the blue light.
You can always think about wearing orange-tinted glasses that block blue light. This simple tool can be extra helpful for night-shift workers who work on their computer or watch TV for long hours before sleep.
Also, these glasses can be handy for people who play video games frequently and do work on their computers late at night.
Can Else Can You Do To Sleep Better When Changing Time Zones?
The best way to sleep is to sleep based on your age and sleep in a bed. Since this isn’t always possible, you need to be ready to test a lot and see what works for you the best.
In the meantime, your sleep might suffer a bit more, until you learn to sleep better while on the go.
Here are some ideas on how you can make your traveling and sleep a bit comfortable:
- Pack a travel candle. This is a simple, but yet effective way to relax. A candle can remind you of the time to sleep since smells can be a great trigger for memories. By lighting a candle that you use at home, you can trick your body clock into thinking it’s bedtime.
- Don’t nap. Your hotel bed will always look tempting to rest. However, you should do your best to resist that urge. Take a walk instead, or visit a hotel gym. Organize your day so you can actually sleep during the night. This is important for your body’s internal clock and minimizing the effects of jet lag.
- Take vitamin and drink plenty of water. To keep your body running smoothly you need to provide significant nutrients. So, take vitamins, because you might skip a meal or two here or there when traveling. Talk to your doctor about vitamins and what you should take regularly. Regardless of vitamin type, you should always take it with a huge glass of water. You can try taking a sleep aid, such as melatonin or valerian root, which is non-addictive and can help you drift off to sleep when you need to.
These are just some ideas that can help you sleep better. Some may help, while others won’t be effective as expected. Still, you can’t lose anything for trying and you can gain a lot.
Here are extra tips on how you can sleep better:
- Use essential oils to help you relax
- Wake up on time the next day
- Wear comfortable pajamas
The Bottom Line
No matter what your job might be and how often you travel, you should always try to keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Getting in sync with your body can be tricky at first, but in fact, is one of the best things that you can do both for your mental and physical health. Be smart about napping and other habits that can trick you into sleeping longer. Always try safe and do your best to sleep well.