How I Fought Jet Lag and Won (Mostly)

Jet lag is up there with one of the worst parts of travel. I can remember my first long flight (3 planes, a bazillion time zones) to Europe. I must have spent the better part of a morning reading as many tricks as I could to try and help aid me in fighting jet lag. I read tips such as going to best an hour earlier for a couple of days to try and help up to taking a shot of whiskey to sleep on the plane (not recommended folks, have you heard of dehydration?). 

Thankfully, I came up with my own system to try, and I will be damned it worked (for the most part). This isn't a cure-all, but on less that three real hours of sleep and 22 hours of flights, I managed to make it with 90% less jet lag. Ready? Here is how I did it.

1. Time Was What Time Was

Where I landed next, that was the time, and I treated my body accordingly. For example, when I left it was 4:30 am, when I arrived at my first stop it was 2:10 pm. I forced my little body to eat a salad and lemon water because it was lunchtime and that was that. I never said "It's X time back at home.", if I would have I my mind wouldn't have been somewhere else.

2. Mindful Rest

I didn't get technical, but for this article, I would. By the time I was on the flight that was going to take me overseas, it was only 1:00 pm my local time. So you can imagine when an hour an half into the flight and the lights went down my body could have rejected my attempt to sleep. The flight served dinner (which I ate even though just two hours ago I had lunch), and then they turned out the lights. While everyone else had a screen glowing in their eyes simulating their minds, I powered through on my plan. The fact is I didn't sleep; I might have grabbed 20 minutes the whole flight. However, what I did was mindful rest. I took my shoes off, applied eye serum (I didn't wear makeup this whole flight, just lots of moisturizing), pulled my blackout mask over my eyes, put my headphones in and turned on a meditation music mix. During the next three hours, I laid as comfortable as I could, cleared my mind (and when it started to run I brought it back), listened to each breath as best as I could, and stayed peaceful. 

3. Walk With A Mission

Once I arrived at my destination, it was 11:30 am local time, which meant, you guessed it lunch time. I just kept coaching my mind even when I yawned or thought about giving up. It's not a secret that I find the BEST local joint on day one for meal one to set the tone. Which is what I like to call walking with a mission. I do not take public transportation, I walk, and I walk quickly to wake up my dead legs and rush oxygen through my veins. This helps keep my body awake. 

4. Map Out The Town

After lunch, I continue walking. I choose where I want to be, and I pre-walk it before I go sightseeing, head to the shops, or grab a hot chocolate. By mapping out what I want to do, my mind is gaining a clear plan of what we will see when we wake up the next day (at a reasonable hour). 

5. Heat Up and Chill Down Hours

The last thing I like to do is take the last three hours before bedtime (this time I chose 8 pm as my night time goal) and heat my body up so I can cool it down. The first thing I do is hit the sauna or hot tub. Once I've heated my core temperature up I have an 8-10 minute core workout just on the floor, and then hit the showers. For the next couple of hours, I sit in my hotel room looking out the window, reading about the hotel, grabbing a healthy snack for dinner, and read/write. Some may think this leads to falling asleep doing whatever you are doing, but I promise it doesn't. It adds structure.

6. SLEEP

Yes. Once I have endured my plan, and it hits the magical hour that I set for the new town, I'm out like a light. This time around I fell asleep at 8 pm and woke up at 8 am local time, 12 hours to give my body the recharge, and then BOOM did. No more coaching.

What are your tips? Leave a comment below.