Hey guys, Michael again.
That’s because I am on a mission.
The mission: to beat jet lag & conquer every airport I step foot in. To destroy the hoards of civilians who sluggishly pile through airport security! To defeat the people who stack up against the baggage claim & hold their bag for dear life as it drags them across the claim belt! To obliterate the snot-nosed sneezing infant that is passing viral fluid through the air!
Woah! Sorry! That was getting heated. Let’s slow down…
Today I won’t go on a rave about airport travel ( even though I really want to ). Today I want to talk to you about JET LAG.
Defined by Google: Jet lag, also called desynchronosis & flight fatigue, is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, & other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones. It is considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, which is a disruption of the internal body clock.
So let’s dive in:
For years I have been trying to figure out the best way to beat Jet lag and I can finally say I think I have it down. This data has been compiled over 20 years of traveling to foreign places & multiple time zones. Lauryn & I have to travel a lot for work and sometimes the turn around is quick. If we are jet lagged it really effects the trip and ruins the experience. So today I hope I can provide some value by sharing how I have learned to beat jet lag.
Below you will find my 12 steps to beat jet lag.
- Prep Before You Leave: If you know in advance where you are traveling to, start adjusting your body to the time zone about a week ahead. If you are in the US and traveling to Europe start going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
- No Caffeine: The day of the flight do not drink any coffee or caffeine. There is a long lasting effect in caffeine that will make it difficult to sleep when you finally need to.
- Forget Home Time: Once you’re done battling the hoards at the airport and get on your flight, set your watch to the time zone you are traveling to. Completely stop thinking about your current time zone. Don’t do the “what time is it at home” thing. Just set your watch to the destination time and tell your body and mind “that’s what time it is.”
- Limit Alcohol: If you are going to have a drink on the plane, limit it to 1. Substitute the rest with water. When you are at a high altitude and you drink too much alcohol, the alcohol becomes more potent & dehydrates the body. This will destroy quality sleep, which will further add to your jet lag.
- Resist Sleep: When you are on the plane resist sleeping at the wrong time. Since you set your watch to the time zone you are traveling to you can now tell if it’s the right or wrong time. If it says 3pm in the time zone you are traveling to. Do not sleep. Gut through it. Work on your computer. Work on an iPad or iPhone. The artificial light from these devices will help keep you awake ( Lauryn uses these weird yellow glasses to fight artificial light, HA! ).
- Prep to Rest and Quality Rest: If it’s time to try to sleep or you know it’s getting near the time, get off your phone, iPad, computer, or TV screen 1 hour prior and start relaxing. Just like the previous tip, the artificial light from these devices will keep you awake. We want to shut down and give the body the best chance to get some rest when we need it. ( Bonus: use noise canceling headphones & a calming app- Lauryn & I use Relax Melodies. This will help you fall asleep ).
- Hot/Cold Shower: When you land and get checked in to wherever you are staying the first thing you should do is unpack clothes for the day/night and take a hot/cold shower. First use the hot water to relax a bit, clean the airport germs off your body and then SHOCK your body with some freezing cold water. This will shock your system & get you fired up for the next part.
- Have a meal: Whatever time of day/night it is, go have a meal that corresponds with that in the local time zone. If it’s breakfast, go have breakfast. If it’s lunch have lunch. Drink a ton of water. I have 1-2 cocktails at this point as well because I feel like it helps to let my body and mind know that it’s not bedtime. For some this makes them tired. If you don’t drink don’t worry about this part. It’s personal preference.
- Walk & Get Sunlight: Take a walk to digest and orient your body with the new surroundings. If it’s daylight, get a minimum of ten minutes in the sun. ( Lauryn will disagree with me here because of sun exposure- you know she won’t go in the sun for a second! Ten minutes won’t kill you ). I think the sun helps to orient your body and mind with the new time zone.
- Crush a Workout: Go to the gym and work out as hard as you can for at least 30-45 minutes. If there is no gym exercise outside. Do not workout in your hotel room or AIRBNB. You will be tempted to sleep.
- Gut Through It: Do not sleep until it’s the appropriate time! I cannot stress this enough. If you nap you are screwed. It will make the next 3-4 days a living hell. You will be tired. You will miss your trip and you will be miserable. Lauryn never listens to me & this always happens to her. You need to dig deep & gut through it. Navy Seals are asked to stay up for 3 days during seal training while also training their asses off. You can do one day. Don’t be a baby ( ahem, LAURYN! ).
- Defeat Jet Lag: Finally your head will hit the pillow at the appropriate time & you’ll be so exhausted from the exertion that you should get a good night’s sleep and be right back on schedule for the next morning.
I am telling you with complete certainty that if you can follow the tips above you have a really strong chance of beating jet lag. There is nothing worse than spending your entire trip sleeping through the days & tossing & turning through the night. It ruins the entire experience. If you can take my advice to heart and tough through a couple of uncomfortable days you will beat jet lag & save your trip.
I wish you all good luck on your mission!
Over and out – Michael
+ be sure to check out the latest podcast with fitness guru, Kim Kelly- she’s like a Navy Seal with her workouts! Also if you guys liked this post, let me know & we will dedicate a whole podcast episode to jet lag/travel hacks.