How to Avoid Jet Lag.

Melanie Sutrathada shares her favorite tips and tricks for avoiding jet lag during travel..jpg

With the holiday season officially here, travel is bound to have us feeling a little less than our best. And let's be real - we all love to travel. That much is clear considering how obsessed our generation is with quotes like, "Wander where the wifi is weak." However, the one thing we could all do without is dreaded jet lag. Why? Because ain't nobody got time for that. Literally. The exhaustion of timezone tiredness is so not the business, especially when it can take our body's internal clocks several days to catch up to the leap in time zones.   

With all of that in mind, here are my favorite tips for avoiding jet lag:

before:

pick your seat carefully.

First class or business is always optimal because the seats can recline back and allow you to relax more than you would in coach. However, if economy is your only option, opt for the exit row seat or a seat with extra leg room. You'll be able to stretch out a teensy bit more which can make all the difference during a long flight. Avoid the back of the plane if possible - you're more likely to feel the bumps and turbulence the closer you are to the plane's tail. Also, steer clear of areas that have heavy traffic like the seats near the bathrooms. 

adjust your internal clock.

Our bodies are designed to do certain things at a certain time. For example, in a 24-hour period, we have to eat and sleep. Having changes in our schedule make it harder for us to adjust to a new time zone though. Start shifting your sleeping and eating times to match those of your destination several days before your trip and you'll be significantly better off. If you're flying east, try to move your bedtime earlier and if you're flying west, push your time later.

Get a good night's sleep before you fly. 

Turn in around your normal bedtime before a flight and you'll be on your way to feeling more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Fight off the nerves or pre-flight anxiety by taking a warm bath. The hot water will help to lower your body temperature and put you in a more relaxed state of mind.

don't stop for coffee or caffeine.

I know, I know. You can't live without an iced mocha latte in the mornings. You're not you without a cup of coffee in your hand. I get it. Caffeine can keep you awake longer and make you wake up more often though. Hold off from the caffeine if you can.

Avoid the bar before take-off.

The temptation to kick off your holiday with a glass of wine may be strong, but the effects of alcohol while in the air is likely to cause dehydration and make you even more tired. A drink in the air is equivalent to three drinks on the ground!

during:

SET YOUR WATCH TO THE NEW TIME ZONE.

Changing the time is a small detail that will make a big difference in helping you get on your new schedule. Do it only when you're on the plane to avoid any timing debacles and late arrivals. 

drink more water.

Drinking lots of water is a fantastic way to offset the effects of jet lag. Cabin air dehydrates your skin and body when you're on the plane, so drink at least eight ounces of water for every hour that you're in the air. Your sleep and skin will thank you.

take care with sleeping pills.

If you aren't familiar with it or any medication in general, a flight is not the best time to test it out. Some of them will leave you feeling groggy and even more tired than when you began.

sleep on the plane only if it makes sense. 

If it's daytime where you're flying, it may be a better choice to use the time to relax. For red-eye flights that are seven or eight hours, it's usually recommended that you settle in for a good sleep though. If that is the case, make sure to pack a sleep kit for yourself that includes an eye mask and ear plugs.

after:

spend some time outside.

Heading outdoors will help to rest the natural time clock of your body.

BUFFER IN RELAXATION TIME.

Say no to that morning meeting and give your body at least a few hours to adjust to your new surroundings. 

AVOID NAPPING.

While your body may be aching to take a nap, always try to stay awake as long as you can. I know, it's tough and the pillow is calling your name. Be strong, girl. You've got this. Staying awake and falling asleep roughly around your normal time will help to avoid jet lag tremendously though. This tip alone has helped me get on track with a new schedule in a different time zone.

With some careful planning, you'll be saying goodbye to jetlag and hello to a fun-filled time traveling in no time. What are your favorite tips and tricks for avoiding jet lag while traveling?