Whether you have done much flying in your life or you are preparing for your first flight, there is a chance you might need a few tips to get over jet lag fast.
As a professional basketball player who has spent the last four years traveling and flying from the United States to Europe, around, and back; I can honestly say I have become adept at managing jet lag.
One of my most recent adventures with jet lag was when I flew from Washington D.C. to Greece in April of 2018 and had a basketball game two days after I arrived. My body was certainly disoriented, but I did not completely lose it!
For those of you who don’t know, jet lag is the feeling of extreme tiredness, and fatigue from taking a flight across different time zones
Jet lag is also commonly known as “flight fatigue,” and it essentially zaps your entire body at once. Sleep is the most common remedy for jet lag, but it won’t do the job by itself.
Scientifically, jet lag is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder which disrupts the internal body clock and biorhythm.
Overall, there are many negative effects of jet lag.
Fortunately, there are many tricks you can use to avoid the negative effects of jet lag.
Keep reading below to find the best tips to get over jet lag fast!
What are the Symptoms of Jet Lag?
If you’ve never experienced bad jet lag before, you never want to. It’s less severe than the flu, but it is pretty unnerving nonetheless.
For the most part, the main effect of jet lag is incredible tiredness or physical fatigue. At least that is the main effect that I notice. As an athlete, this is unfortunate.
Luckily, I have found few remedies for jet lag that work.
Before we get to those, a few of the other symptoms of jet lag include:
- GI distress/diarrhea
- Stiffness and the swelling of the joints
- Stiffness and muscle pains
- Low concentration
- Lowered aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Appetite loss
Tricks to Get Over Jet Lag Fast
As I said before, the basic cure for jet lag is to sleep a lot. Assuming that you don’t want to spend your whole trip sleeping, you are going to want to use a few other jet lag remedies as well.
Check out these tips below!
Get Ready for the Change in Time by Changing Your Clock Days Ahead
I’ve never done this and always thought it was a strange trick, but I have heard it works.
The strategy is to move your clock one or two hours closer to the time of your destination about a week before you fly. The benefit of this is that you will be mentally prepared for the time difference, although it will still be a different experience.
Our minds are a powerful weapon, and this tip to reduce the symptoms of jet lag is an excellent example of that!
Another tip (and I suggest this), is to go to bed earlier than you would normally for a few days before your travel date if you are traveling east, and a few hours later if you are traveling west.
I understand that this is not possible for everyone, but it does help with adapting to the time difference. sleep much later for several nights
Drink Your Fluids!
Drinking fluids before, during, and after your flight is one of the absolute best ways to reduce the symptoms of jet lag.
It is extremely important to stay hydrated.
One of the most common symptoms of jet lag is dehydration- which is caused by the dry cabin air. It might sound fun to drink in the airport bar or on the plane, but I strongly suggest you not to!
Try as much as possible to avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine when traveling, and you will remain hydrated much easier.
If you generally have a difficult time remaining hydrated, try to take some extra electrolyte supplements before your flight.
I do this consistently while I am traveling because if I get dehydrated during a game or practice, it can be very dangerous!
Suggested Electrolyte Supplement for Jet Lag: Electrolyte Salts Rapid Oral Rehydration Replacement Pills
Embrace the Time of Your New Destination
When you are traveling, embrace the time of your new destination.
If it is daytime, then stay away from sleeping on the plane or in your new hotel room.
If it is nighttime, try to put yourself to rest.
Even when I am traveling for games and more tired than normal, I still try to stay away from napping on my first day of the trip. Although it seems like a good idea, your body will be more confused after!
If you can push your body through the first day of a time change, I guarantee you will feel much better for the rest of your trip!
Do Your Best to Exercise and Move Around at Your Destination!
As soon as you get to your destination, do your best to get active! Whether it is taking a walk to explore your new area, hitting the gym, or any other type of physical activity- it will help you get over jet lag quickly!
When I travel with my team for basketball, we always do our training session soon after arriving. The goal is not to train intensely, but you should do something to stimulate your body and mind.
An excellent idea is to expose yourself to the sun because the sunlight plays an intricate role in regulating our biological clocks.
I always suggest people get out and walk after they have flown through a few time zones because it will make a dramatic difference in how you feel!
For those people who have trouble sleeping at night after switching time zones, doing a workout in the afternoon is a great way to regulate your body for sleep. Your workout can be with weights and resistance, or it can be a long walk.
Regardless, physical activity is one of the best solutions to overcoming jet lag symptoms!
Supplements to Cure Jet Lag
Honestly, there are many supplements which are helpful to manage the symptoms of jet lag.
Even a conventional whey protein powder will help your body acclimate to a new time zone easier, and help your body feel healthy while traveling.
However, there are a few supplements specific for managing jet lag symptoms.
The most important supplements for jet lag (in my opinion) are:
Melatonin is a hormone that is created by your body when you go to bed each night. When you take a melatonin supplement at the time you want to sleep, it will help your body and mind synchronize with the new time zone of your new destination.
Melatonin is a safe supplement which is commonly used by many people who have trouble sleeping. Although it is generally very safe, try to talk to your doctor about taking melatonin for jet lag before you do.
I take melatonin about an hour before I want my “bedtime” at my new destination, and it always helps with regulating my internal biorhythm much quicker! You can feel the difference after the first night.
Although the necessary dosage is different for each person, I have found the most success when I take 3mg of melatonin before bed. Melatonin does not cause addiction or side-effects like other sleep aids, but you can increase your risk for dependence on the product if you are taking too much each night.
Suggested Melatonin Supplement for Jet Lag: Nature Made Melatonin Tablets- 3mg
Along with melatonin, using zinc before bed is another excellent supplement to manage the symptoms of jet lag. Zinc is a vital element for our bodies and is crucial for our immune system amongst other functions.
Traveling through time zones wears down the human body, which is why it is necessary to take zinc before sleep each night.
I normally take 25mg of zinc each night, regardless of whether I am traveling or not.
Suggested Zinc Supplement for Jet Lag: Garden of Life Raw Zinc Whole Food Supplement
Turmeric (curcumin) is the most well-researched “supplement” in the world, and its extensive use dates back for thousands of years. Amongst other benefits, the main qualities of turmeric are anti-inflammation and free-radical fighting properties.
If you take turmeric before, during, and after your flight- there is a great chance your body will adapt to your new destination much quicker.
Turmeric has man properties which help stabilize your internal biorhythm as well, which is another reason it is a great option before you fly. Also, you can use turmeric to lose weight or maintain your weight while you travel!
Suggested Turmeric Supplement for Jet Lag: BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine 1500mg
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found on the cannabis plant, although it does not have any psychoactive properties. CBD is excellent for managing chronic pain, stress, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and much more.
I have used CBD products for a while and am a firm believer in them.
Taking CBD before a flight will help you relax while you fly, and taking CBD after your flight will help normalize your body as soon as you land. Cannabidiol products are excellent for jet lag because they bring the body to “homeostasis,” which is essentially a place of normality for your body.
If you are interested in finding a quality CBD product to try, check out my Infinite CBD Review!
Concluding Thoughts – How to Manage Jet Lag Symptoms!
Although I have a ton of experience with managing the symptoms of jet lag, it still affects me each time I travel. However, following the tips I have listed below will certainly make your experience much more enjoyable!
The direction you travel determines the severity of your jet lag symptoms, and traveling to the east is more difficult on your body than traveling to the west.
Sleeping for a healthy amount of hours at night is the basic principle of managing jet lag symptoms, but adding in these other tricks will help as well.