Has this ever happened to you? You’re coming back from an amazing holiday, most probably somewhere a few time zones away, and you need to get into your routine ASAP - easier said than done, right? You go to bed and it’s near impossible to fall asleep, and when you do, your eyes pop open at 3:00 AM, fully awake, feeling like it’s 7:00 AM.
From then on, the rest of your day is utterly and completely screwed.
By the middle of the afternoon, you just want to go to bed, but you have responsibilities. You have to take your kids to piano classes, or soccer practice, or whatever else they may be enrolled in. You have an important meeting with a potential client or need to be at work and ready to rumble by 7:30 AM. You need to continue to be successful at life, and being fatigued and groggy, is just not an option.
This is the infamous Jetlag and living abroad means that we all have to get used to it.
Jet lag can occur anytime you cross two or more time zones, immediately affecting your circadian rhythm (which regulates your sleep-wake cycle), and if not dealt with properly, it can negatively impact your health in the long-run.
Taking from my own experiences in dealing with Jet-lag while living abroad, I have compiled a list of natural ways to fight this dreaded consequence of international travel:
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE.
While onboard your flight, always stay on top of your water intake. Try to have an 8-ounce glass of water every hour to an hour and a half. Avoid drinking alcohol at all costs, it will only dehydrate you more. If you’re travelling on an 8 to 15-hour flight this is especially important. Another great benefit of this is that by hydrating, you can avoid excess unhealthy carbs. When you are dehydrated, your serotonin levels dip, kicking into high gear all of your carb cravings, making you want to devour every cake, cookie, and piece of bread that crosses your path. Hydration will curb this craving.
FORGET ABOUT YOUR ORIGIN TIME ZONE.
On your flight try to stay on the time zone you’re headed to. So sleep if it’s nighttime at your destination, or stay awake if it’s daytime at your destination.
STAY IN YOUR NEW TIME ZONE.
Once you arrive at your destination, live through the day as if you’ve always lived there. Forget about what time it is back home. Do not think about how it’s this many hours less or more. Live in the moment. Sleep when it’s night.
Doing a quick exercise routine once you’ve checked-in or have gotten back home, is a fantastic way of re-energizing and helping your circadian rhythm get back on track. Stay active, stay moving.
DO NOT NAP.
Even if you’re exhausted, avoid taking a ‘10 minute nap.’ This nap will undoubtedly become a 2-hour nap, and once you wake, you will feel groggy for the rest of your day. Instead, go out, check out your surroundings and explore. Or if you’re back home, go visit friends, fill up your fridge, or go out for a quick dinner with your hubby.
KEEP UP YOUR NUTRITION.
It does not matter where you go, always keep up with your nutrition habits. Find a local fruit store or organic market and get yourself some fruit and veggies, order some healthy room service options, or ask the concierge to get you some healthy snacks.
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