You’re finally in France or Australia or Peru – but all you want to do is sleep! Traveling into a different time zone can be a real bear, and the only way to truly adjust in 24 hours or less is to prepare before you go. Check out tips from Swift Passport that outline how to quickly adjust to a new time zone.
Know Why You’re Lagging
The first tip on how to quickly to adjust to a new time zone is to know why the adjustment is necessary in the first place. Our bodies function on 24-hour cycles known as circadian rhythms, which are based on biological changes in our bodies and influenced by exposure to sunlight.
These rhythms determine when we sleep and wake. When we thrust our bodies into a totally different time zone, our circadian rhythms are still stuck in the old one for several days. Depending on the new time zone we’re in, we could end up wanting to sleep in the middle of the day or stay awake through the dead of night.
Before You Go
One important key for a quick time zone adjustment is to prep your body for the change before it even happens.
- Figure out what time zone you’ll be in at your final destination. A few days before your trip, start going to bed later or getting up earlier to prime your body to better align with the new time zone.
- Prep your body with adequate rest before your trip; being tired worsens jet lag.
- Adjust your watch to the new time zone the minute you get on the plane.
- Pick a flight that lands you at your destination in early evening, then stay awake until at least 10 p.m. local time.
- Skip caffeine and alcohol at least four hours before bedtime. Both act as stimulants that can keep you awake.
- Drink lots of water before, during and after your flight. Dehydration can contribute to jet lag.
When You Get There
- Don’t eat heavy meals or engage in vigorous exercise as your 10 p.m. bedtime draws near.
- Use earplugs and a sleep mask as needed to block out noise and light while you slumber.
- Get into the sunlight! Sunlight can speed up the process of getting your circadian rhythms back on track in the new time zone. Hanging around indoors can actually make your jet lag worse.
Keep up your 10 p.m. bedtime in your new destination, shoot for at least six to eight hours of sleep, and get on the local mealtime schedule as quickly as possible. These tips on how to quickly adjust to a new time zone can soon have you frolicking all day and sleeping soundly all night long.
Have any other travel questions? Swift is always happy to answer them. Contact us today!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.