Flying across several time zones in a matter of hours can certainly throw your body’s natural clock out of sync because you are moving faster than your body can adjust. Commonly when you travel across more than two time zones and arrive, you can have trouble falling asleep when you need to and wake up earlier than you want to. In short, you are jet lagged.
Sleep problems tend to be more common when people travel eastward because it’s harder to advance your sleep time than to delay it. But no matter where you fly, you can take a few steps to avoid jet lag.
Your best bet is to adapt yourself to the routine of your destination's time zone as soon as possible. Try these tips to avoid sleep problems when you travel:
- Several days before your trip, gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the time zone of your destination.
- As soon as you board your flight, reset your watch for the new time zone.
- If you are taking an overnight flight and arrive in the morning, try to get several hours of sleep on the plane. However, if you will be arriving in the afternoon or evening, try not to sleep too much or take naps so that you can be tired enough to sleep at night.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration makes it harder for your body to adjust to the new rhythm.
- If you feel the need to nap right after you arrive, limit it to 2 hours.
- Daylight can help reset your internal clock. Try getting some exercise outdoors, like a brisk walk, as soon as you get up in the morning. And if you are tired in the early evening, try to get some fresh air and enjoy a lively atmosphere.
- Try to keep yourself busy and engaged with other people. If you are arriving during the day or early evening, push yourself to enjoy some sightseeing until it is closer to a traditional bedtime.