How to Minimize Jet Lag & Enjoy Your Vacation

The Bay Area is an amazing place to live and work, yet a vacation in far-away, exotic location is a great way to escape the daily stress of daily life in the Silicon Valley. For many who live in Palo Alto, Mountain View and beyond, summer is an ideal time to travel abroad to their vacation homes or to explore new locales in different time zones. To make the most of our leisure time, minimizing the effects of jet lag is a must.

A temporary disorder resulting from a disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm, jet lag can cause fatigue, insomnia as well as numerous other physical discomforts including headaches and irritability. These can definitely impact one’s ability to thoroughly enjoy our destination until our body acclimates.

It can take several days to adjust to a new time zone. In fact, depending upon whether we are halfway across the country or halfway across the world, it takes anywhere from two to eleven days for our internal clocks to acclimatize.

Below are simple tips to help avoid jet lag

Before traveling

  • Get 6 to 8 hours of sleeps for a few days prior to departure. Sleep deprivation exacerbates the effects of jet lag.
  • Begin shifting your sleep schedule to your new time zone. Go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier each day for three to four days if you are traveling east and 15 to 30 minutes later daily if traveling west. For assistance in adjusting your sleep schedule, try using Jet Lag Rooster, a free smartphone app.

While flying

  • Though many people celebrate vacations with a drink during flight, its best to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they both heighten the effects of jet lag. One drink while flying equates to 2 or 3 since altitude speeds up the effects of alcohol.
  • Sleeping during your flight can also make jet lag worse. A good rule of thumb to follow: if it is nighttime at your destination, try to get some Z’s but if not, do your best to stay awake to adjust your internal clock to the new time zone.

Upon arrival

  • Expose yourself to sunlight as soon as possible. Sleep cycles are largely governed by light and darkness so being in the sun can help you adjust more quickly. Experts suggest going for a short walk immediately upon waking up, then showering and beginning your day to inhibit natural melatonin production.
  • Take melatonin at night rather than sleeping pills. A substance that occurs naturally in your body, melatonin will help you feel sleepy at night. It’s best to take it 3 or 4 hours prior to bedtime, or around the time when the sun is going down. Non-addictive, it is safe to take melatonin up to 3 or 4 days after arrival but of course, check with your doctor first before taking any supplements.

By following these steps, your internal clock should adjust more quickly to your new time zone, enabling you to sleep well and have the energy to appreciate your vacation destination, be that across the country or around the world!

If you are in the market for a vacation home in the Silicon Valley or beyond, contact The Dawn Thomas Team to discover how we can help. Or, if you’re considering putting your home on the market, our No Hassle Guide is filled with advice and valuable information to make the process stress-free.