We all travel for different reasons: business, pleasure, or maybe a little of both. One thing that no hustling jet-setter can avoid? The criss-cross of timezones that has you itching for a day-long sleep the second you step off the plane. Jet lag is no cakewalk, but there are plenty of ways to kick it to the curb. And it starts before you even pack your bag.
Here are five ways to beat jet lag, before, during, and after your flight:
1.Sleep up 2 days in advance.
The 48 hours before a flight can muddle you with tight, last-minute work adjustments, a tremor of flight anxiety, and a number of trips to Target. Getting on top of these early and easing them into your schedule is super essential, since you really should be sleeping up your final few days before a long trip. The more sleep you can squeeze into a 48-hour period, the better.
2. Avoid the bar (and say goodbye to coffee!).
As tempting as it is to kick off your journey with a little gin and tonic, alcohol at high altitudes will quickly dehydrate you, draining your body of any natural energy and pushing you straight into jet lag. On top of this, coffee and other drinks containing caffeine have the remarkable ability to stimulate you, totally offsetting your recovery time. Your body is at its best when its hydrated, so opt for water and keep its natural cycles flowing.
3. Axe the Ambien. Hello, natural sleep remedies!
Opting for sleeping pills on a long flight is a big no. These power-packed pills do nothing to aid your recovery from jet lag, and only leave you feeling groggy. When your body is itching for a nap, keep your handy remedies on hand: organic melatonin, essential oils, and carrying on your own herbal tea bags (because hot water is a total in-flight freebie) are perfect ways to ooze into calm. Plus, be prepared with your favorite sleep inducers. Look, we know it’s not *cozy* on the aircraft, but some soft Bose headphones, and a great neck pillow will easily do the trick.
4. Know your planes!
You don’t have to be a pilot to know that A350s and A380s are the ultimate aircraft for taking down jet lag. These planes are equipped with hi-tech humidification systems, expertly retain moisture in the air, and simulate the natural phases of the day with over 16.7 million shades of color. All of these things are built to battle jet lag, and the promise of purer, refreshed air will keep you feeling flat on your feet as you travel.
5. Change your watch.
Get your mind aligned. Once you step onto your flight, set your watch to your end destination (but keep your phone handy so you don’t miss any connections), getting psychologically in tune with your final destination. While you can admire these patterns and time zone shifts, make sure to go with the flow of your own–sleep when you can, stay up when you can’t–to allow your body’s natural cycles to work.