Nine ways to beat jet lag before your destination wedding
21 Sep 2017
You’ve spent months planning your destination wedding, every last detail has been accounted for; but have you considered the impact of jet lag?
Words: Alisa at Nestmaven.com
Jet lag occurs when your internal body clock is out of sync with the natural day-night cycle of your environment. While the effects of jet lag increase with the number of time zones crossed, even just skipping over from coast to coast can cost you precious sleep.
Exhaustion, irritability, digestive issues - who wants to experience that on their wedding day? Not to mention the additional stress which you already have your fair share of. And we can’t discount the impact of jet lag on your appearance, which goes far beyond pesky dark circles.
But never fear. There are many things you can do to prevent and overcome jet lag quickly to ensure you have the wedding of your dreams.
1. Start adjusting your sleep schedule before you leave
If your regular routine allows it, start slowly nudging your sleep-wake schedule to match the timezone where your wedding will be held during the week before your departure. This means simply heading to bed and waking up 30-minutes to an hour earlier or later - depending on which direction you’re traveling in.
This technique allows your body to gently adjust to the new time, rather than having to adapt abruptly once you arrive.
2. Try the Anti-Jetlag diet
The timing of when you eat your meals throughout the day actually serves as a cue to synchronize your internal body clock. The Argonne-Anti-Jet-Lag diet - also known as the fast-feast diet - takes advantage of this fact to help you adapt to your new timezone quickly.
Four days before your departure, begin to cycle through periods of fasting and feasting. Once you board, break your final fast at a time corresponding to breakfast in your destination timezone.
You can also try out the short-cut version in which you fast for 12-16 hours before take off.
3. Set your watch/phone to your destination timezone
Don’t wait until you arrive at your destination to set your clock. Immediately upon boarding turn your clocks backwards or forwards to match the timezone you are traveling to.
This mental trick can help you get accustomed to your new time, especially if you’re taking a 8+ hour flight.
4. Stay hydrated while you fly
Plane cabins have very low humidity, which can contribute to dehydration if you aren’t consuming enough liquids. Dehydration not only exacerbates jet lag symptoms, but can also leave your skin and hair looking dull and lifeless... and who wants that on their wedding day?
To combat this, remember to drink plenty fluids (preferably water) before, during and after your flight.
5. Choose the earliest arrival time possible
Pick a flight that will have you landing in your destination at the earliest time of day possible. This way, once you land, you can take advantage of the cues of daylight to help sync your body clock with your new timezone.
Additionally, since it will be nighttime at your destination, you can feel free to sleep during your travel without consequences.
6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine upon arrival
Using caffeine and alcohol to help influence your level of sleepiness and alertness may get you by in the short term, but you’re really not doing yourself any favours if you want to beat jet lag.
Both these substances negatively impact your sleep, making it harder to fall asleep when the time comes, and actually lowering the quality of the sleep you manage to get. This doesn’t mean you have to do without, but be mindful of the time of day and limit your consumption.
7. Stay up until your usual bedtime
Whether or not you were able to grab that early flight in, you now need to stay up until your usual bedtime, but in your new timezone.
This will mean you’ll have to keep yourself awake a few more hours, or try to tuck in earlier than what you’re normally comfortable with. However, this is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll wake up the next morning (at a reasonable hour) feeling rested and alert.
8. Bask in the light
Expose yourself to natural light as soon as possible after waking up in the morning. Light is by far the most influential cue when it comes to your body clock, and soaking up the sun’s rays on a quick walk or during an outdoor brunch can make all the difference in your energy levels for the day.
9. Take a melatonin supplement
Instead of reaching for over-the-counter medications to induce sleep, opt for a melatonin supplement. This all-natural solution is especially useful if you need to fall asleep earlier than you’re used to, and it avoids the nasty side-effects of sleeping pills.
Melatonin is the hormone released at night in order to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. So, rather than sedating you it simply sets the process of sleep in motion.
These tips can also be applied if you're travelling to a far-flung destination for your honeymoon. Take a look at other honeymoon tips and ideas here.
(All images via Unsplash)