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Bouncing Back to Sleep: Seven Steps to Minimize Jetlag

Have you ever come back from a vacation feeling like you need a vacation?

tired after traveling

Being out of your regular routine will throw off sleep patterns (AKA jetlag). This is the case even more so if you have traveled a considerable distance. Between jetlag and getting back into a routine, coming back from time away can be exhausting.

When traveling to a new time zone, our circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. If you are travelling to a new time zone for an extended period of time, you can plan to have jetlag upon your return as well. This is something to consider when planning your time away.

When planning your return from vacation, taking a few simple steps will make for a smoother transition than you could have dreamed.

  1. Schedule transition time. Consider returning home a day or two before you have to be back at work or school. See Tip #5 if this isn’t an option.
  1. Use your own pillow while traveling. You can’t bring your bed with you, but even having your usual pillow with you can make a huge difference in your ability to sleep while on the road. The better you sleep while away, the easier it will be to get back into the swing of things when you return.
  1. Pack earplugs or noise cancelling headphones. You never know who else will be at your hotel or on your flight, or just how noisy they might be. Take control by packing a couple of simple tools to tune out the noise and bring on the sleep.
  1. Set your watch. Simply seeing the local time of your destination helps your brain adapt to the change. Make the change a day or two before you depart to maximize the effectiveness of this one.
  1. Drink up. Dehydration can worsen the effects of jetlag. Don’t hold back on the water.
  1. Snooze away. Try to sleep on the plane, especially if you reach your destination in the morning.
  1. Trifecta. You know the drill. Eat right. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep. Taking care of yourself will help you get the most out of your vacation on both ends.

Of course, you want to have your vacation and enjoy it too. Just don’t sleep it away! Keep in mind that these tips don’t have to wait for your return. Make the most out of your vacation by planning ahead and avoiding jetlag when you arrive as well.


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