Jet lag is a physical condition that results when our body’s natural biological clock becomes imbalanced due to traveling to other time zones. According to WebMD, individuals generally need about one day to allow their bodies to adjust to each hour of time change. When we travel east, we lose time and traveling west, we gain time; so, traveling east and experiencing an “earlier” bedtime causes more difficulty in trying to fall asleep. Basically, individuals will have an increased energy and wakefulness throughout the earlier hours of the evening. When traveling west, individuals are able to fall asleep more easily. However, individuals will then have a harder time waking up. This article will address how to deal with jet lag when traveling for work.
There are four basic factors involved in your business travel which can either positively or negatively affect your ability to deal with jet lag. Those factors are as follows: before the flight, during the flight, at the hotel, and in the new location.
See also: How to Ensure a Successful Business Trip
1. Before the Flight
In order to get a handle on jet lag, it is important to take several measures to guarantee that you will get sufficient sleep while on your trip. One of the first steps you can take is to make sure that you are stress-free and able to get a good night’s sleep prior to leaving for your trip. If you are well-rested, you will be able to handle jet lag better. You can battle jet lag by being prepared to sleep on the plane. If you don’t fall asleep easily, bring along ear plugs and eye covers. Listening to soothing music can also help you fall asleep, so bring your favorite playlist with you. When you have an effective strategy in place for all your travel arrangements, you can lower your stress levels. Making sure that all of your personal and professional affairs are in order back home will keep your mind clear and body able to relax. Make sure you have a good breakfast to start off your travel day. Wear comfortable clothing on the plane so that you can relax more easily.
2. During the Flight
There are many factors that can interrupt your stress-free traveling experience such as rude or excessively talkative passengers, long flight times, missing your connecting flights, and delayed flights. You cannot control any of those factors. However, you can prepare to be as comfortable as possible during the flight. For example, stay hydrated with water, but you should avoid consuming too much caffeine or alcohol. Both of those drinks are diuretics, which mean that they cause frequent urination as well as increase your chances of becoming dehydrated. Plan ahead to be as comfortable as possible on the plane by bringing a C-shaped travel pillow. Don’t hesitate to ask for a blanket when you get on the plane. If you have a sinus infection or congestion, take an antihistamine prior to flying to clear up the infection. Chewing gum is also known as a way to stabilize any ear pressure you may experience while in flight.
3. At the Hotel
The third factor in effectively dealing with jet lag is that you need to utilize strategy when making your hotel booking arrangements. For example, check with the hotel to ascertain whether or not they offer sleep-friendly amenities such as designated quiet areas which are restricted from loud noises, music and children playing. Other such amenities include booking quiet hotel rooms that are located away from the main roads, have soundproofed doors, and quiet heating and cooling units. Additionally, some of these rooms also have blackout drapery and high quality mattresses. Do your research when booking the room and make sure that you will be in a room that is not located near the hotel restaurants, bars, clubs or ballrooms. Double check the setting on the alarm clock in the room. The last thing you need is to be awakened by an alarm that you did not set. Depending on the time allowance due to work-related responsibilities, consider using the hotel’s spa facilities to ensure a relaxing experience.
4. During the Work Trip
While you are staying at the hotel during your work trip, be smart and make wise choices. For example, when you go out on a business dinner, do not order any caffeinated drinks that may hinder your sleep quality. Remember to plan to have a good night’s sleep and don’t stay out late during those business dinners. During the day, if you are overcome with weariness, only take a 20-minute nap. This nap will be a refresher, and provide you with a boost of energy to make it through the rest of the day. Napping too long during the day will hinder you from having a good night’s sleep. Alcohol consumption has been known to cause you to sleep. However, you may also experience a restless night due to disturbing dreams, night sweats, and headaches. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 14 hours. So, drinking caffeinated drinks during the day will also hinder your evening sleep cycle. Plan to have a time period—of at least 30 minutes before bed—to have an electronic stimulation-free zone in your room. Stay off your mobile devices or laptop and stop checking your emails prior to bed. Spend time reading or in quiet reflection rather than watching TV right up to your bedtime. Spending some time exercising during the trip will help to give you energy and will be a stress reliever. However, know your body. If you get extremely energized after exercise, don’t do that prior to going to sleep.
See also: How to Prepare to Travel for Work
If you take these four factors of traveling into consideration and apply some of these tips to your work trip, you can more effectively deal with jet lag. What steps have you taken to deal with jet lag on your business trips?