Whether you’re planning a short distance trip or going around the world, time in an airplane can send your body clock out of whack. Many of the UVM Travel Study courses travel for a one-week or two-week period, taking students around the world. With a busy schedule of activities, field visits, and exotic adventures, it’s important to be able to avoid jet lag so you can enjoy every minute. Here are some simple tricks to stay healthy and keep your body clock up-to-speed when you’re traveling.
How to avoid jet lag:
Start by getting extra sleep.
Turn your phone or computer off after dinner and go to bed 30 minutes earlier. You will give yourself an added break from all of the busy things that keep you up at night. With a few extra moments to yourself, you may find that you’re better able to fall asleep, and that you wake feeling more rested.
Get your daily dose.
Whether or not you’re on a vitamin regimen, make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients in your body. Eat fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins. By keeping your body well regulated, you’ll be in a better position to fight off germs and combat tiredness.
Drink more water in the days leading up to your flight. You’ll find that you can avoid the dry, tired feeling that sometimes accompanies you on an airplane. When you land, you will be less likely to have dark, puffy circles under your eyes or itchy skin. On the day of your flight, pack an empty water bottle to bring in your carry-on bag. You’ll find water fountains on the other side of security, and you won’t be at the mercy of airport vendors’ drink prices.
While you’re traveling, steal some shuteye wherever you can. Bring a scarf that doubles as an eye-cover, wear a hooded jacket, or pack a sweater that you can use as a pillow. While it can take some practice to get comfortable sleeping in public, after carving out a few minutes of sleep here and there, you’ll arrive more rested and ready to start your adventure.
Pack for comfort.
Bring layers with you on the plane, so you can dress according to your needs. You’ll have more clothing to choose from when you arrive, and you won’t have to pay a baggage fee for added weight. If you have room in your carry-on bag, consider bringing cozy socks, an eye mask or scarf, an inflatable neck pillow, and ear plugs. Armed with these comfort items, you’ll have a better chance of nodding off when you need to.
Bring healthy snacks.
When you’re traveling, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Your schedule may be chaotic or you may not be in control of what and when you eat. Bring a few small snacks to keep you through your travel day. Eat when the locals eat and set a routine for yourself around foods that you can stick to. Avoiding sugar highs – and lows — by maintaining a balanced diet will help you make the most of your travel adventures.
Do some activity every day that gets your heart and lungs pumping. If you’re first arriving in a new time zone after a long trip, it may be tempting to take a nap. Hold off doing so as long as you can. You want to acclimate to the new time zone as soon as possible or you’ll spend your trip in limbo.