How To Sleep With Jet Lag

4 min read

Which direction of travel causes the worst jet lag? Do you get jet lag traveling from north to south?

Traveling across multiple time zones west to the east will produce the worst jet lag experience. Traveling north to the south does not cause any jet lag because you will remain in the same time zone based on GMT or UTC.

How do you fall asleep with jet lag?

Plan ahead and maybe sleep 1 hour earlier than you would typically do. This will help with your jet lag experience.

Understanding the mechanism of jet lag is vital for you to manage your sleep when you arrive at your destination.

Here is how jet lag happens, you live and work in Manhattan, New York, but you have a flight scheduled to arrive in London, UK.

You start your day at 7 am in Manhattan, and your flight is scheduled to leave JFK at 11 pm the same night, so you are tired, right?

Your flight time is 6 hours with a decent tailwind and the time difference is 5 hours, so you arrive in London early in the morning.

You have been awake all day. The boarding of your flight took 1 hour. The max you will be able to sleep realistically is 3 hours before you arrive in London, so your total time since your day started in Manhattan to arrive in London early morning is 21 hours minus 3 hours of awful sleep on a flight equals 20 hours when you land and your day is just starting again.

So, effectively, you have lost out on a whole night’s sleep, and if you are expected to work, or you want to hit the road running in London, you will surely be tired all day.

Traveling from east to west can cause a night of unrest as your day will now be shorter.

How do you sleep on a long flight?

long flight

Become long-haul flight savvy! How to sleep on a plane takes planning. Book a window seat if possible, not because you want to enjoy the view of the distant terrain but because you don’t want anyone climbing over you or asking you to move while they visit the toilets.

If you sleep with a blanket over you, make sure you buckle up outside of the blanket, cabin crew will have no qualms waking you if they think you are not safe in your seat.

If you plan to sleep most of the flight, let the cabin crew know you do not require to be disturbed for food service.

Invest in some earplugs. Using the aircraft’s headset may be fine to listen to some soft relaxing music, but you will be disturbed every time the pilot wants to make an announcement.

Wear comfortable clothing conducive to sleep; you can always change into something more appropriate if needed when you land at your destination.

Set your watch to the local time at your destination to balance the amount of sleep you need on the flight with how much sleep you will need the coming night.

How do you fall asleep with jet lag?

Deciding when and how to sleep after jet lag may be a question you will need to consider. Your circadian rhythm is confused with the different daylight hours, so you need to continue through the day and get an early night.

However, it’s not always that simple as you will notice as the day wears on, your foggy head starts to clear, and you become more alive and feel normal. You can consider taking melatonin supplements to help you sleep in this situation.

If melatonin supplements don’t have the desired effect, try tryptophan supplements that are reported to work just fine and enhance your sleep.

Avoid alcohol, although it may be tempting to join in some culturally appropriate drinks at the bar. Alcohol will knock you out for a few hours, and then you will wake feeling worse for wear.

Sleep in a cool dark room and switch off your electronic devices as the screen light is similar to daylight and will further confuse your brain.

How do you trick your brain to avoid jet lag?

It is possible to reduce the effects of jet lag with some planning that revolves around sleep patterns.

Finding the optimal way to sleep with jet lag can be negated if you plan and schedule your sleeping routine differently before your long haul flight.

Try to sleep earlier than you would normally for at least a week. Set your time to your destination’s time zone to see when you should be sleeping and when to be active. If you can sleep two hours earlier, that will be perfect.

Use sleep supplements to enable you to sleep earlier and sleep soundly. Both melatonin and tryptophan supplements work well in aiding restful sleep.

Make small adjustments in your meal times to come closer to your meal times at your destination.

Perk yourself up with a cup or two of coffee in line with your intended time zone.

Why is jet lag worse going west?

Because it prolongs your daylight hours which in turn messes with your internal clock or circadian rhythm.

People who travel a lot over many time zones say that you will need an extra day to recover for each time zone you pass, so if you cut across 5 time zones, it takes 5 days to recover!

How do pilots cope with long haul flights?

On a long-haul flight, there will be more than one pilot and scheduled rest intervals, so there is no need to worry.

Pilots manage by avoiding daylight, it’s daylight that confuses the circadian rhythm, and you can do the same to avoid jet lag.

How do I reset my body clock after jet lag?

Work and rest in your new time zone. Don’t worry about the time back at home. Sleep at your regular time but now in your new time zone. You will adjust quickly.

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