I've been traveling the world for 6 months and I'm rarely ever jet-lagged. Here's the best advice I can give you.

jetlag airport sleeping

  • As Business Insider’s international
    correspondent,
    I am constantly taking long-haul
    international flights, switching time zones, and then working the
    next day. 
  • However, I rarely suffer from the worst effects of jet lag
    thanks to careful preparation and some science-backed
    strategies.
  • Prior to flying, I adjust my sleep schedule as much as possible
    to correspond with my new time zone. On the flight, I drink tons of
    water and operate according to my new time zone. When I land, I
    force my body to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime.

When I left New York in March to become Business Insider’s
international
correspondent
, I was convinced traveling for a living is a
dream job.

That is, until you start thinking about what full-time travel
means. I’m talking endless long-haul flights, time zone switches,
and days where your body is somehow both utterly exhausted and
wired awake. In other words, lots of jet lag.

Jet lag is what
happens when you disrupt your body’s internal clock
, or
circadian rhythm. This clock, which naturally runs on a 24-hour
cycle,  moderates everything from sleep and hunger to blood
pressure and hormones.

While your brain moderates your circadian rhythm, it responds to
external cues like light and temperature. When you jump time zones
— and particularly when you jump many time zones — your body is
no longer synced up with the external cues in the world. Your brain
gets confused and it takes some time to adjust.

Over the course of my travels — 30-plus countries and counting
— I’ve learned to follow some science-backed strategies for
avoiding the worst effects of the dreaded travelers’ disease.

Start adjusting your body before you fly

To start with, the main tools you have to prepare for your time
zone jump (and avoid jet lag) are light exposure, sleeping and wake
times, and food. But even using all of these tools,  there’s no
completely avoiding jet lag.

Steve Simpson, the academic director of the Charles Perkins
Centre, who is working with Qantas Airways on jet lag research,

has found that the maximum the body clock
can be reset is 90
minutes per day. Stuart Peirson, a researcher at the Nuffield
Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Oxford University, has
found the limit to be closer
to one hour per day.

That means, for a nine-hour time zone jump, as I did experienced
on a recent trip to
Dubai
, your body requires nine days to adjust to the new time
zone. 

To shift my internal clock, I started by adding a clock to my
phone for the place I would be going to (in this case, Dubai),
which I find helps me psychologically prepare.

Then, in the days prior to the flight, I slowly adjusted my
sleep schedule to match that of the time zone I was going to,
forcing my body to go to sleep earlier or later, depending on the
destination time zone, a strategy backed by researchers
on the
subject
.

JetLag Rooster has
a handy tool to help come up with a sleep plan to adjust your body.
Here’s what my (ideal) schedule looked to prepare for the nine-hour
time zone shift:

Screen Shot 2018 12 21 at 9.02.08 PM

When adjusting my sleep schedule to sleep earlier, I might take
a supplement
of melatonin
, the hormone your body uses to regulate sleep. Or
I might restrict my exposure to light by closing the curtains
earlier and staying away from phones and screens.

If I need to stay up later, I might drink caffeine later than
normal, work out late in the day, or just force myself to finish
binge-watching that Netflix show.

Of course, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to completely
shift your body’s clock prior to departure. Most people have
offices to go to and things to do. But, I find, if I can shift my
body clock by even two or three hours, it shaves off the number of
days it takes my body to fully reset after I land.

By the time I left for Dubai, I had shifted my sleep schedule
enough that I was going to bed at 4 a.m., or a little less than
half of the time zone jump I was about to make.

When flying, keep adjusting and drink lots of water Turkish Airlines Flight Review (22 of 28)

On the day of my flight, I try to switch my thinking completely
to the new time zone.

My flight to Dubai may have been at 10:40 a.m. in New York, but,
in the airport and on the plane, I was already thinking that my
actual time is 7:40 p.m.

Once we get into the air, I’m operating with my new time zone
and trying to stick to what I would normally do at that time.

For the first few hours of my 13-hour flight to Dubai, it was
business as usual. I watched a movie, did some work, and ate around
dinner time (or as close as the flight’s meal times would allow).
When 11 p.m. Dubai time came, I put down my phone and began to read
a book. Around midnight, I tried to fall asleep for as long as I
could.

Sometimes, I’ll take some melatonin to speed the process along,
but, in the case of my flight to Dubai, it wasn’t necessary. I was
already exhausted from having gone to sleep at 4 a.m. and then
waking up three hours later for the drive to the airport.

On flights, I never drink alcohol and try not to drink coffee,
both of which wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. 

In addition, I drink as much water as I can. Planes are full of
dry, recirculated air that will leave you dehydrated. Dehydration
has many of the
same ill effects as jet lag
, like mental sluggishness, and can
actually worsen your jet lag symptoms.  

After you land, stick to the time zone

Dubai Development Property Real Estate (18 of 40)

The worst mistake you can make upon landing in your new time
zone is to listen to your body clock.

After I landed in Dubai at 8:30 a.m., all I wanted to do was go
directly back to sleep. Despite my best efforts, my body was likely
still operating somewhere in the realm of New York time, or 11:30
p.m.

But, if I wanted to get acclimated quickly, sleeping was a bad
idea. Instead, I had to do as an Emirati would do.

“Biting the bullet is important, force yourself to get up at a
‘normal’ time in your new time zone, and eat breakfast outside if
you can,” Emily Capodilupo,  a sleep scientist and the director of
analytics at fitness company WHOOP,
told Forbes in August
.

Instead of napping, I ate breakfast, worked out in the gym, and
then went out to explore the city. As the day wore on I grew more
exhausted, but I knew that if I stuck it out the first day to a
reasonable bed time, then it would force my body to adjust more
quickly.

The first day, I made it to 9 p.m. before I was too tired and
had to sleep. The next day, I woke up at 5 a.m., a few hours
earlier than my normal wake-up time but at least reasonable for the
time zone. And, for the most part, I felt great. 

Within two days, I was more or less completely adjusted,
sleeping at midnight and waking up at 7:30 a.m., my normal sleep
schedule.

That’s usually about how it goes for me with long-haul
flights.


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
I've been traveling the world for 6 months and I'm rarely ever jet-lagged. Here's the best advice I can give you.