Now that the weather is turning colder, many of us are planning to travel somewhere warm. Others will be traveling globally for both pleasure and business, but no one wants their visit to be spoiled by jet lag.
I know many people think traveling is a pleasure. However, after a few trips and experiencing the reality of canceled flights, uncomfortable plane seats, missed connections, being stranded in airports, they come to realize that it is not all that glamorous. Then, after you land, you’re hit with one of the worst parts of traveling – jet lag that leaves people disoriented and drained.
Each year I fly all over the world to speak and lead seminars. Destinations include: Europe, Middle East, Australia, Asia, and Africa, often crossing seven, eight, and even fifteen time zones. However, very seldom do I experience significant jet lag.
Medical researchers have studied the effects of jet lag for years. They concluded that traveling long distances in pressurized aircrafts, combined with the complete time change the body goes through, results in the human system becoming disoriented.
It can require as much as a day to recover from each time zone change. For instance, if you flew from Toronto to Singapore, you might require 15 days before your mind and body are functioning effectively.
The good news is, jet lag can be minimized by using the following system I adapted from a formula initially created by my friend, Brian Tracy. Start by taking melatonin, or a jet lag formula, at your normal bedtime a few days before your flight and continue until your trip is finished.
Your body loses about one pint of water per hour when flying. To stay hydrated, drink one pint for every hour you are in the air. Take a large bottle of water on the plane, or ask the flight attendant to keep your water glass filled.
Live into your destination time zone prior to departure. To achieve this, resist the natural tendency to sleep as soon as your plane departs. After arriving at your hotel, take off your shoes. This will ground and connect you with the natural rhythm of the earth’s rotation at the point on the globe you are at.
If you arrive during the night, go outside and watch the sun come up. If you arrive during the day go outside and watch the sun go down. This serves to speed up the harmonization of your circadian rhythm.
One of the most important things to do after arriving is to fill a bath with water as hot as you can tolerate. Then, sit in the hot water five minutes for every hour of time change.
If you arrive in the morning, schedule your hot bath for later in the afternoon or evening. After the bath, it will take about the same length of time to completely cool down.
If you take a bath during the day, afterward take a one-hour nap. Because the hot water will have relaxed your muscles, you will sleep deeply for this hour and wake up refreshed.
Even if you are not a coffee drinker, have one or two cups after waking up ─ especially the first couple of days after you arrive. This will also help stimulate the adjustment of your circadian rhythm.
Athletes arrive at their destination weeks prior to competing so they can be at peak performance. You should also be at maximum performance for your client. I try to arrive at least three days prior to my engagement. I find that if necessary, I can work the day I arrive. But, the second day can be a total fog if I don’t follow this formula.
My question for travelers this week is:
Do you have a procedure to ensure a productive trip and arriving home refreshed?
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