Few people can really understand what it is like to adjust to a new time zone until they actually have to do it. It seems like no big deal, but it can really mess with mind and body. There are all kinds of studies on why that is, but the easy answer is that it is lying to your mind and body. You are essentially telling yourself that it is a different time than it really is and your body and mind know the difference.
Herein lies the solution. You need to prepare your mind and body ahead of your traveling so that they are more in tune with what is coming….make the change subtle instead of sudden, if you will.
Here are some tips to make that happen:
Begin changing your schedule early
From when you go to bed to when you eat your supper, start living on that time zone a bit early. If you are moving ahead an hour, for example, you can slowly start to rotate your schedule so that it is a subtle change each day. Perhaps fifteen minutes. Depending on when you travel, adjust this to fit your situation.
Be careful about those naps
Naps will undo whatever shifting you have done if you are not careful. If you must nap, make sure you do so on a timer and keep it super short. Long naps will essentially undo any possible changes to your sleep schedule and confuse your body even more.
Lay off the alcohol and caffeine
These two things will muck with your mind as much as anything and that is a recipe for a horrible case of jet lag on the day of travel. Sleeping off a bender and sleeping are not the same thing. Heavy doses of caffeine likewise will cause you to stay up much longer than you intend. Additionally, both of these items will keep you dehydrated if you consume them.
Stay on your exercise routine
A well maintained body and mind will respond to a time change much better than a tired, out of shape one. Spend time exercising and try to keep the same routine as much as possible. Your body and mind will both benefit from this and you will be able to have the energy you need to avoid the crash of traveling through time zones.
Keep your diet on track and healthy
Lots of fruits and veggies are the order of the day when you are traveling through time zones. Your body will respond to the change no matter what, but you want to give it a well digested meal to work with. Traveling is not a time to load up on heavy starches and meats. Save that for the after travel meal and even then, limit it.
I’m usually on the go that it doesn’t phase me but for some, it can be a deterrent to travel. What do you do to help adjust to a new time zone?