Keep Calm, Fly On & Kill Jet Lag Once and For All
October 16, 2015
I landed in warm and humid Chiang Mai, Thailand after 14 hours from the chilly winter of Oregon.
It was 11 p.m. and I was delighted to hail a tuk tuk, drop off my things in a hostel, find a local market with fresh fruit and a large bottle of water, then lazily I climbed into bed. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. the next feeling refreshed, hungry and ready for the day. I had somehow reset my internal clock as easily my iPhone had found the right time zone.
Upon my return, I spent a week sleeping during the day, waking in the middle of the night, anxious, irritable, suffering from headaches, nausea and digestive distress. The effects of jet lag can be crippling.
You have two different internal clocks: your circadian cycle, the one that is affected by light; and your digestive cycle, the one that wakes you for breakfast and helps you keep going through the day. When I traveled to Thailand, I had reset both at the same time and experienced none of the effects of jet lag. Upon my return, I had not.
Ideally, the best way to travel and minimize stress is to travel slowly by car, train or boat. If you are flying, we fling ourselves into an outer orbit of the atmosphere through many time zones. It easier to travel west in time/space, which will always maximize your ease of settling into the new time zone, but traveling back east will become more difficult.
Keep your skin refreshed by packing a light toner and favorite moisturizer.
The longer the flight, the more essential these become. I also pack a toothbrush, refreshing toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, and neck pillow in my carry-on, so I can create a comfort in flight. Internationally renowned world beat producer, Oxygen levels and pressure are different at altitude, so practicing pranayama like a three part breath or ujjayi can help you stay relaxed.
Managing a two to five hour time difference
When traveling forward in time, or eastward, start preparing for your travel by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. For example, you are traveling three time zones, start three nights before you are going to leave and go to sleep 30 to 60 minutes earlier. Most importantly, start walking up an hour earlier each morning. The day before you leave, eat your breakfast (even if you aren’t hungry) at the time you want to wake up in the new time zone. Changing your sleep patterns and eating patterns will reset your circadian and digestive systems, so you will be able to wake up early and have a normal day.
Managing a six to 18 hour time difference
Determine when you want to eat breakfast in your new destination, then go on a fruit/water fast for 18 hours before you want to eat. The key here is to trick the digestive system to be on an entirely new schedule and it really works. Flights will often operate on the departure city time zone, if you can set your clock to your new time zone as soon as you board your plane, you maximize the travel time so you land ready to roll.
Upon arrival keep drinking water, hydration can help combat the stress of travel. Taking a probiotic or eating yogurt can support your digestive system in your new environment. Drez also recommends that you shower upon landing and rehydrating with a green juice to help detox radiation exposure. Taking an easy walk can help you get to know your neighbor and new surroundings while the exposure to daylight helps reset your circadian rhythm. I take a low dose of slow release melatonin for a few days to help me fall asleep and stay asleep, please consult with your doctor to see if this would work for you.