Eastward travel jet lag, in the winter, is my “kryptonite.” This time of the year, the sun rises, in Stockholm, just before 9 AM and sets around 3 PM. Even high noon, feels like you’ve forgotten to take your sunglasses off. Landing and jumping into a busy schedule is absolutely the best antidote.
We usually set alarms to transition back quickly; but this time, I was feeling all Christmasy, with the kids still home on school holiday. I stayed up into the wee hours unpacking and enjoying our cushy return without our heavy school schedule. I stuck to the rules with the kids but, as a mother, I didn’t keep the time frame myself and have paid the price. (Moms, don’t you agree it’s just so hard to resist a quite, stolen moment?) Using myself as the cautionary tale, I wanted to share with you our jet lag tips that truly make a difference. Today, feels like the very first day my fingers will obey my mind since we returned over a week ago! Have you experience jet lag before? What’s your experience? I’d love to hear from you.
Our 3 Best Jet lag tips:
1) Sleep/Nap on the airplane:
Sleep as much as you can on the plane, adjusting your schedule to the time frame you are traveling to, immediately. If possible, make sure you have had enough sleep before you leave, too. Starting an international trip, sleep deprived, will make jet lag worse.
Step into the new local time immediately: move your body and go outside during the day. Bright light helps reset your body clock. The stimulus to reset the clock is light entering the eyes so, get outside and move. Natural sunlight synchronizes the body through brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, especially melatonin which actually control body processes (temperature, hormones, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and brain states). Our bodies are naturally tuned to a 24-hour physiological clock. If on holiday, it’s easy to be motivated to just get up and go out to see the sights. In our case, returning to snow meant finding our skis, skates and sleds and going out for these activities every day.
3) Hydrate. Drink water.
I’ve read that the sensation of jet lag, which is actually fatigue, is exaggerated by dehydration. Drinking water, helps. I always ask for a bottle and cups as soon as we board the airplane. It’s so much easier to keep hydrated if you can hold your own schedule. When the kids were very little, I also always packed food specially that I knew they liked: sandwiches, fruit, etc. They almost always feel asleep just before dinner was being served and I preferred to let them sleep. Having easy food available for them, worked perfectly. When they woke, we could keep our own schedule. Also, if I packed these things, like surprises the distraction worked wonders.
Last, a general rule of thumb is that days of jet lag experienced will be equivalent to the number of hours difference in the time zone you have visited. Ex: If you’ve been in a time zone that is 7 hours different from your current time zone, the jet lag will take, on average, 7 days.
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