What should I take for jet lag

Avoid jet lag: 10 tips against jet lag

Jet lag - you could call it the bane of long-haul flights. Getting used to a new time zone is put up with differently good or badly by each person - some hardly feel it or not at all, others feel for days after the trip as after a wet and happy night. What exactly jetlag actually is and how you can enjoy your vacation much less jetlag hangover, we'll tell you here!

Where does jet lag come from?

After the fast journey across several time zones, our biological clock, i.e. our internal clock, is no longer synchronized with the new local time. The most important natural timers - light and darkness - appear at unusual times and our natural rhythms, such as eating and sleeping times, are out of balance.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

Everyone experiences jet lag differently, but the most common symptom is persistent fatigue, as if you got up too early - which, according to your biorhythm, you are. This is accompanied by things like difficulty concentrating or lack of drive. A large time difference can also lead to digestive problems, loss of appetite and general malaise.

Does the direction of flight have an impact on jet lag?

Air travel to the east is generally perceived by passengers to be worse when it comes to jetlag, as traveling eastwards shortens our day emotionally, that is, we experience an early sunrise or sunset. So we go to bed when our internal clock is actually still set for activity and get up at times when our body actually wants to go to sleep. The journey to the west, on the other hand, is easier, as we get hours for free and our internal clock associates it with staying up late and ticking a little slower. Studies have shown that for every time zone you cross, i.e. for every hour that you deviate from your regular time at home, you usually need a whole day to get used to the new time. A trip to the USA would be between seven and nine days, depending on the vacation spot - for many, the entire vacation time. However, so that you can get over jetlag faster and enjoy the journey without getting tired on the first day, we have ten practical tips against jetlag for you below!

What you can do to counteract your jetlag in a targeted manner

1. Start the journey well rested

If you want to avoid jet lag, you should ensure sufficient rest before your trip. If you go on vacation tired, then the jetlag will only make you more tired, but if you make sure to get enough sleep the last few days before your trip and also to go to bed in good time the day before your departure, the time will change Far better to put away. It should also be mentioned at this point that people with strict eating and sleeping times often get the worst jet lag. So if you are a little more flexible in this regard, you have a natural advantage. If you have the time, you can adjust your sleep rhythm a little at home to the new time zone - for example, when traveling to the east you can sleep longer in the morning and then stay awake longer at night; When traveling west, you should get out of bed extra early in the morning and go to bed as early as possible in the evening.

2. Steer clear of alcoholic beverages, caffeine, and foods high in carbohydrates

As tempting as the prospect of free alcohol on the plane may be, alcohol leads to increased fatigue and fluid loss - both of which will only increase your jet lag. Therefore, the following applies here: Avoid alcohol if possible. Caffeine and heavy meals, on the other hand, make you sleep worse, especially if you eat them shortly before your planned bedtime. So you should not consume coffee, energy drinks or high-carbohydrate or high-sugar foods at least three to four hours before going to bed in order to optionally recover during the night despite a confused internal clock.

Even if you should forego drinks during the flight, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few glasses at your destination. Read more about 8 of the craziest alcoholic drinks in the world here!

3. Drink lots of water

This advice is heard all the time, but with good reason! If you have your fluid balance well under control, you generally feel fitter and, especially with jet lag, a few additional glasses of water can make a huge difference in your well-being. The first signs of dehydration, even mild forms, are headache, lethargy, nausea and a general feeling of exhaustion - all symptoms that are also associated with jet lag. So make sure you drink plenty before, during and after the flight. Our pro tip: Take an empty water bottle with you into the cabin (or buy a mineral water bottle after the security check and keep the bottle after you have finished drinking) and as soon as the on-board crew does their drinks round, asks them to fill your bottle with water.

4. Fast in flight

Harvard scientists have found that our biorhythm is largely determined by when we eat. It is even assumed that you can specifically influence your internal clock by consciously not consuming anything from two hours before the flight and during the entire flight - with the exception of plenty of water! After landing you should wait until the next regular meal (i.e. until noon or your usual breakfast or dinner time) and then you can eat as much as you want. This technique is used to stop your inner “food clock” until you start eating again, so that you adjust yourself directly to the new time zone. Granted, on a 13-hour flight, this method can go a bit extreme if you have to turn down every snack and meal on the plane, but numerous frequent flyers and seasoned globetrotters swear by the technology to keep their jet lag within reasonable limits.

5. Plan a stopover

As nice as it can be to arrive at your destination as quickly as possible, if the aim is to keep your jet lag as low as possible, then it might be advisable to take a trip with a stopover. If you can stretch your legs a little halfway or even have a restful night in your hotel room before you continue, you will arrive much more relaxed and less groggy at the final destination. A stopover also helps you to get used to the new time zone in two steps, so that the change does not hit you so hard and suddenly.

While a planned stopover can be very relaxing, an unexpected long stay can be quite uncomfortable. Here we have 10 tips for you to spend the night at the airport!

6. Book a flight that arrives in the afternoon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best way to avoid the consequences of jet lag is to adapt to the new time zone as soon as you get on the plane. In order to do this, it helps to switch your phones and watches over to the new time so that you can mentally adjust to the new time rhythm. You should also try to book a flight that arrives in the afternoon - when it's still light outside and your body can watch the sunset, but you don't have to wait too long before you can go to bed with a clear conscience (ideally you do this between before 10 p.m. and midnight). Also, be careful not to sleep too much on the plane, so that you don't feel awake at night when you should actually be jumping on your feet in the hotel. During the flight you should also get up regularly and move around, this promotes blood circulation, helps you to stay awake and you feel much better immediately.

7. Adjust yourself consciously to the new daily rhythm

As soon as you have arrived at your destination and have had a full night of sleep, you should adopt the daily rhythm at your destination as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to have three meals at your usual meal times (of course, according to the time at the destination), not sleeping too late in the morning and not staying up too late at night - unless, of course, that's what you usually do at home too! Pro tip: Try to get a seat outside in the sun in the restaurant - you'll find out why in the next paragraph!

8. Treat yourself to as much sun as possible

Sunlight is one of the most important factors in healing your jet lag. Light sends important unconscious signals to your body and your internal clock, which help you to adapt to the new rhythm of time as quickly as possible. So if you spend the whole day in dimly lit hotel rooms or inside buildings, then you lack these signals, your body could think that it is (like at home) in the evening or at night and you should actually sleep - and the jet lag lasts longer, than he should. That's why you should get up in the morning on the first few days if possible and do things that will bring you to light - trips to the beach or the park, sightseeing in interesting neighborhoods or boat tours, for example, are perfect. If, for whatever reason, you have to stay inside, make sure you pull up all the curtains, position yourself close to the window and, if possible, even open it.

In some places soaking up the sun is much easier than in others - here we present you 10 great, sunny travel destinations!

9. Do sports at your destination

Exercise and sport are good for you, but not only that, they also help against the symptoms of jet lag! Exercise releases endorphins, i.e. happiness hormones, which not only improve your mood, but also give you more energy. If you are less of a sporty type, instead of jogging or doing yoga exercises in your hotel room, you can simply go on a sightseeing tour on foot - a walk to and through the most beautiful places in your holiday destination should be on every travel plan anyway!

10. Take short naps if necessary

If all the tips don't help and you feel too exhausted to really enjoy your day, then plan a few rest periods or even short naps in between, at least for the first few days. Make sure, however, that the nap does not immediately turn into a full sleep phase, so that you can continue to get used to the new rhythm despite a short rest. 30 to 60 minutes are ideal to give yourself new energy for the rest of the day without running the risk of losing your eyes at night because of the sheer sleep in the afternoon.

And here you will find even more clever tips for smart travelers: