The holidays are upon us. Among the flurry of activities with friends and family comes the travel burdens of long-distance flying and jet lag. Skipping time zones can deplete your energy, which can prevent you from cherishing the few days you have to spend with loved ones.
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The combination of sleep deprivation and the misalignment of your circadian rhythm from transferring time zones can cause severe cognitive and behavioral impairments, including insomnia, mental fog, mood swings, and impaired motor skills. You certainly don’t want those things to hinder your holiday vacation. Luckily, there are several methods for preparing your mind and body for a time zone shift.
To start your journey, make sure you pack the SHEEX TANDEM® PILLOW. It’s a 3-in-1 sleep system that allows you to take the best parts of your personal pillow with you when you travel; then beat jet lag by making these easy adjustments:
Prior to flying across multiple time zones, you can start adjusting your internal clock by moving your bedtime and wake time up 15 to 30 minutes each day for 2 to 3 days before your flight.
Christine Hansen, author of “Sleep Like a Boss,” recommends shifting your sleep schedule by two hours each day before a flight to make up for the total time change. If the time change is 10 hours, adjust your sleep two hours a day five days before flying. Keep in mind, your day will shorten if you travel east, and lengthen if you travel west.
This is where planning ahead will go a long way. Pack your bags and take care of important errands the week before you travel. Do not leave important tasks for the night before. Instead, relax with a book or movie and try to get a couple extra hours of sleep before you fly.
There are two great ways to induce sleep:
When you wake on flight day, choose protein-heavy foods for breakfast. A combination of eggs, beans, and sausage will provide the energy you need to stay alert.
It’s essential to remain hydrated while you travel. Bring a refillable water bottle and drink at least 8 ounces, or 1 cup of water every 2 hours. The pressurized, dry air in aircraft cabins can cause dehydration, which will deplete your energy levels. So, drink up!
The World Health Organization suggests that travelers eat light meals and limit the consumption of alcohol. While alcohol can help in the short-term, it counteracts hydration, prevents sleep, and the after-effects contribute to fatigue.
Even if you follow these instructions to the letter you can still feel the effects of jet lag after a long day of holiday travel. All of your preparation has been for the first night, so don’t blow it! Resist the urge to nap, avoid the temptation to go to bed early, and avoid the infamous first night effect! Aligning your sleep schedule with the new time zone will help your body adjust faster, hopefully dodging jet lag altogether.
Once you are prepared to collapse into bed, take a moment to outfit your mattress with your favorite SHEEX sheet set. The lightweight nature of our sheets allows the performance fabric to take up minimal room in your luggage. Place the sheets and pillowcases at the bottom of your suitcase before packing anything else.
When you leave the airport, try to fit in some heart-pumping exercise to help get you through the first evening. Go for a workout or take a long walk to keep your blood flowing. SHEEX Co-Founder Michelle Brooke-Marciniak suggests that if time permits, go for a run upon landing. This will contribute to a healthy and productive trip. Hopefully, the sights and sounds of your desired destination will naturally energize you!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. So, step into the sunshine as soon as possible once landing, and be sure to incorporate some outdoor activity throughout your trip.
With patience and practice, you can completely beat jet lag and become a holiday travel pro. Slide between your SHEEX sheets the night after a long flight and wake up without missing a beat the next day.