How to Deal with Jet Lag

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 1, 2014

I don’t consider myself to be a jet setter or globetrotter – but I do travel a bit through North America and across multiple time zones which, if not managed well, can result in jet lag.

Traveling across one or two time zones is no biggie; three is about my limit. However, in the summer, there is a four time zone difference between our house in Scottsdale, AZ and Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island. And Joe and I just got back from a week-long Rhine River Cruise – a six hour difference between Amsterdam and Toronto. With a one-day layover and then off to work with my client, I simply cannot afford to be jet-lagged. I need to be mentally and physically present.

Over the years, I developed my own recipe to cure jet lag which was initially inspired by my good friend, Brian Tracy (we went cruising with Brian and his fabulous wife, Barbara).
So here’s my remedy for jet lag:

  1. Set Your Watch. As soon as you board the plane, set your watch to the destination time zone – and then set your expectations to “live” in that new time zone. For example, we flew from Toronto to Basel, Switzerland, departing at 4pm and arriving at 10am the next day – going across 6 time zones. As soon as we got on the plane, we moved our watches forward to 10pm. Which means we ate dinner and then went to sleep for about 4 hours. (A little Advil PM or Ambien might help with this!). You don’t need to get a full 8 hours of sleep….the energy of landing in a new environment will help you through the day.
  1. Drink Lots of Water. I am not a big water drinker, but I have to force myself to drink plenty of water. I bring an empty water bottle across security and then fill it up on the other side. Every time the flight attendant offers water, always take a glass. When you land, refill your water bottle and make sure you drink the whole thing before you get to your final destination. Force yourself to drink lots of water. If you don’t do it throughout the flight, you’ll wake up parched.
  1. Take a Hot Bath. This is the key to reducing jet lag. Take a look at your almost empty water bottle after you land. You’ll see the bottle crunched because of the air pressure on the plane. That’s what’s going on with your muscles. Unbeknownst to you, your muscles have been squeezed and stressed throughout the trip. A hot bath decompresses and relaxes the muscles.

Sometime after you land, take a hot bath for 5 minutes for each time zone traveled. For a six-hour trip, you’ll need to steep in the hottest water possible for 30 minutes.   (I often find the water gets cool after 10 minutes or so, so I add more hot water as needed. You can also just go out to the hotel’s hot tub if they have one!) It will take about 30 minutes for your body’s core temperature to cool down.

If you land in the afternoon, you might want to combine this with an hour-long nap and then you’ll wake up refreshed and able to go out to dinner.

If you land in the evening, take your bath and then go to bed (again, Advil PM or Ambien might help here if you think you’ll have problems getting to sleep). You might wake up a little achy, but have a cup of caffeinated coffee and you’ll feel right as rain!

  1. Optional: Take Jet Lag Formula. Unlike melatonin that you start taking 3 days before your flight, (which I either don’t have the patience for or can’t remember to take religiously), you take the Jet Lag Formula pill or capsule during your flight every 3 hours. You can find it at Brian Tracy swears by this stuff. Me? I tried it once and didn’t feel it really made a difference. That’s not a statistically valid sample, so don’t take my word for it.

And that’s my simple recipe to remedy jet lag. Hope you find this helpful!

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