6 Life-Saving Tips To Help You Avoid Jet Lag While You Travel This Summer

by Imani Brammer

Jet lag is the worst.

When it comes to taking a vacation, you're supposed to be traveling for relief, for fun, for adventure.

Who wants to feel groggy AF after departing from the plane?

A sleepy, jet-lagged mind definitely takes away from the glamour, and certainly the relaxation, of your travels.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

If you play it smart, you can avoid jet lag, or at least reduce its pesky side effects.

Here are six ways to get over that terrible, disgruntled jet lag of yours.

1. Pick Your Locations Wisely

There's this saying that goes, "West is best, east is a beast."

It's not just a cute little rhyme -- the phrase exists for a reason.

The further east you fly, the more difficult it is for you to recover from jet lag.

This is because, when you're on the west, you gain time, whereas on the east, you lose time.

According to a mathematical model, certain cells in the brain (the neuronal oscillator cells) don't respond well to crossing time zones. These cells regulate your internal clock (your circadian rhythm), and they rely on external cues to do so.

Those cells work on a 24.5-hour schedule, so it's easier on them if you travel somewhere that technically extends your day, rather than shortens it.

2. Make Sure There's Light Outside When You Arrive

Of course, it's easier to stay awake when you have a natural cue -- hello sunlight.

If it's dark out, you'll be more tempted than ever to fall asleep.

This study advocates for flashing light to help keep your energy levels up, but due to the fact that melatonin needs darkness to adequately put you into a sleep-like state, continuous light should suffice.

If your schedule can help it, try to plan your arrival time wisely.

3. Avoid Having A Cocktail On The Plane

Alcohol will only only leave you feeling more tired, so avoid the airport bar, and definitely don't give into temptation when the drink cart rolls around on the plane, either.

Unfortunately, jet lag is almost inevitable, but a depressant like alcohol will only make it that much harder, as it causes general travel fatigue.

4. Stay Away From The Sleeping Pills

If you have a pretty short flight (less than six hours), then do not take sleeping pills.

I know they help you make it through the flight, but keep in mind that the effects of these pills can spill over into several hours after the flight, which means you'd basically be a walking zombie whenever you arrive at your destination.

Instead of the pills, try opting for a calming, soothing tea during the flight.

If you feel like you absolutely need a sleeping pill, at the very least, check the label on the bottle, and see how long the effects are supposed to last.

If it lasts longer than your flight, wrap your hands around that nice, warm cup of tea.

5. The Same Goes For Coffee

Seriously, just stay away from it.

Or, at least don't drink multiple cups of coffee, because when it finally comes time for you to actually sleep, you won't be able to at all with your body all hopped up on caffeine.

That decaffeinated chamomile tea continues to call your name, girl.

6. Get Yourself Outside When You Arrive At Your Destination

If you arrive during the day, challenge yourself to go along with the regular programming of that day.

Go outside and explore the town. I know you don't want to, but seriously, it's for your own good.

You'll tire yourself out, and come nighttime, you'll be sleeping just as you're supposed to.

And it will be a glorious sleep. Trust me.