Leaving one time zone and landing in another can put quite a damper on you and your honeymoon. The typical symptoms, including sleepiness, headaches, lethargy and—in extreme cases—nausea, combined with the feeling that you are the only person in outer space, can be a serious drag. Here's how to keep time on your side.
1. Get on Schedule
Before boarding, set your watch to the local time of your destination. In flight, aim to sleep in accordance with that time zone. If you've got an easily adjustable schedule before your trip, try this trick: alter your bedtime. If you are headed west, hit the hay about an hour later for about as many days as time zones you skip. Traveling east? Turn out the lights a little earlier than usual.
2. Eat Right
Long-haul international airlines will serve a main meal about an hour after take-off. Eat it only if you are not changing time zones, since you want to keep your body clock in sync with your destination. For example, skip eating if you take off at 10 p.m. and it's 2 a.m. in Italy, your final destination. Salt is another reason to avoid eating supper. Pre-packaged foods, such as those served on planes, tend to be high in sodium, which can cause bloat, another physical discomfort associated with jet lag. Can't say no? Opt for the pasta; some experts suggest that carb-dense foods can make it easier to sleep.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Nothing can tinker with your body clock the way alcohol does. What's more, since it's dehydrating, booze can intensify jet-lag symptoms. And while you're at it, skip drinking caffeine, too. If you must enjoy a cup of tea, bring your own herbal tea bag and ask the flight attendant to heat up some bottled water.
4. Get Moving
Those cartoon exercise videos aren't just for entertainment--they also provide good tips for getting the blood moving. Take a few minutes every three hours or so to move around. The increased blood flow may help conquer some symptoms.
Wouldn't you prefer to snooze lying down? Consider splurging on a business- or first-class ticket. Some premier classes have private cabins with beds, while many business sections on international flights offer seats that fully recline.
6. Buffer Yourselves
If your schedule (and wallet) allow, add bumper days to your itinerary. With a full day to acclimate to the time change, you won't have to lose out on any of the activities you've planned.
7. Drink Up
Allowing yourself to become dehydrated is a big no-no. Fight jet lag by drinking as much bottled water in-flight and post-landing as possible.
8. See the Light
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that exposure to sunlight can increase vitamin D levels and decrease jet lag. So take a walk if it's still light when you land. It'll feel good to move around a bit and it will also help you adapt to the local time.