I wrote this post while sitting in my Cape Town hotel, pouting that my boyfriend Aaron was too jet lagged to explore the city with me on our first full day. As he lied next to me, snoring and snoozing, I started to question what went so wrong on his end and what went so right on mine…
I was full of energy, ready to take on an uphill hike to Table Mountain, and Aaron was sound asleep and couldn’t move an inch.
After some contemplation, I realized I naturally followed the tips I’m about to list below, just by chance. Very lucky, I know 🙂 I’m sure my previous [grueling] experiences with jet lag in Europe helped me a little too!!
Here they are, listed in order of importance! But, still follow them all for the best results:
- The amount of time you spend sleeping on your flight should always be determined by the time of day you land in your destination. If you’re landing in the morning or afternoon, get as much sleep as you can on the flight so you can last until nighttime in your new destination, and go to bed with the new time zone. If you’re arriving at night, stay up as long as you can on the flight! This will also ensure a nice, sound sleep on schedule with the new time zone when night comes.
- If you absolutely must sleep when arriving at your destination, do so quickly by taking an hour or two nap, just to refresh. This way you’ll still be tired when nighttime comes.
- If you’re feeling really jet lagged the day after flying, try your best not to give in, as this will only maintain an unhealthy pattern in your internal clock while it’s already trying so hard to adjust. Again though, if you’re so tired that you won’t even be able to enjoy your day out on the town, then by all means, take a quick cat nap!! You’d be surprised though how mental jet lag can be, so I suggest pushing yourself first- see what happens!
- Avoid overindulgence in alcohol while on your flight and during the first couple days of your trip, but indulge a little if it’ll help you sleep. Hangovers and even as much as just a couple drinks can mess with your sleep patterns and overall energy level, which means your jet lag may be even harder to recover from. However, I have found that a hefty glass of red wine on a flight helps me fall sleep faster, as well as stay asleep longer. That being said though, all bodies are different, so listen to your body!
- Once seated on your flight, change the time on your phone to match the timezone of your destination. This will help you mentally prepare for your new time zone and aide in mapping out your plan to fight off jet lag when you land (based off tip #1).
So just like that, after following these 5 tips, I made it to the top of Table Mountain on my first day in Cape Town with zero jet lag!! And I have yet to experience it during my past 3 days here?
If you have any other jet lag tips that you’d like to share, PLEASE do so below! I’d love to hear everyone’s suggestions!! 🙂