Jet lag tips for business travelers
Anyone who regularly travels by plane on business trips to the other side of the world knows the problem: jet lag is so extreme that it takes days to get your body clock back in sync. Depending on which time zone you are traveling to, this process can take several days. Humans are creatures of habit, and they resent any change in their sleep-wake rhythm. If you cross several time zones within a short period of time, your melatonin level also gets confused. Too much melatonin in the blood makes you tired and people with too little melatonin suffer from insomnia. Read the following guide to find out how you can best overcome, prevent or even avoid jet lag.
Tips for frequent flyers: The best remedies for jet lag
For business travelers, jet lag is particularly unpleasant. You have an important meeting just a short time after landing, but you feel like you're exhausted? As soon as the time difference is more than two hours and you are heading east, you will know the problem. Then the body gets especially confused and you would like to lie down in bed, although it is only noon at your destination. The more time zones are crossed during the flight and the more stopovers are made, the more intense the jet lag becomes. Not only do you feel tired, but your body temperature, blood pressure and digestion also change. As a rule of thumb, you should allow at least half a day for each time zone you cross and give your body time to regenerate. Admittedly: On business trips, this is often easier said than done.
Nevertheless, there are some things you can do yourself to cope better with jet lag. So when the next business trip is planned, prepare for the flight a few days in advance. This is especially important if the plane trip is going east and the days are shortened. Then, about a week before the flight, try to go to bed one to two hours earlier than usual each night.
Once you arrive at your business trip destination, get outside if possible and soak up as much sunlight as possible. Even if you want nothing more than to lie in bed for a few hours: Daylight is the best way to get used to the new time zone. This will also help alleviate typical jet lag symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, poor sleep quality, headaches and difficulty concentrating. The latter in particular are not very conducive to business travel. A general lack of drive is also common on long-haul flights. It is therefore all the more important to plan business trips to other continents in the long term and to take appropriate precautions. Special apps can be helpful in this context. The free app Jetlag Rooster, for example, automatically calculates the best possible plan for your sleeping and waking times. You can also use the app Timeshifter to create your own personal jet lag plan to arrive as refreshed as possible on business trips and not lose your productivity.
If you can choose your own travel dates, it's best to choose a flight arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. If, on the other hand, you arrive in the morning and suffer from extensive jet lag, you won't be able to keep your eyes open by the afternoon at the latest. If possible, also try to book the best class of service on the plane. A good seat will help increase your sense of well-being on your flight and make you arrive much more relaxed. Economy class, on the other hand, has not proven itself for long-haul flights. The often uncomfortable seating position means that you can't relax properly throughout the flight. In a better class, on the other hand, you not only sit more relaxed. You can also move more freely. Try to get up at least once an hour and walk a few steps.
Jet lag often takes place in the mind. It is therefore recommended that you set your watch to the time at your arrival point while still on the plane. This way, you can at least get used to the new conditions mentally. Another useful tip is that diet also has an influence on jet lag. Just like on the ground, carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice and pasta make you sleepy. So if you're heading east, you can go a little overboard. If, on the other hand, you're flying west, you're better off eating protein-rich foods. Fish or eggs may fill you up, but they help you stay awake. No matter which direction your business trip takes you: Be sure to drink plenty of water. You can counteract dehydration, which exacerbates the most common symptoms of jet lag. Alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, should be taboo above the clouds. Due to the altitude, the effect of alcohol can be intensified when flying. This in turn can lead to jet lag symptoms being exacerbated. Coffee or black tea are also not advisable because, like alcohol, they dry out the body.
Last but not least, as far as your travel plans allow, plan a stopover when traveling on business to Asia or Australia. A stopover in Abu Dhabi or Hong Kong will help you gather new energy and you will be able to cope with the time change much easier.
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All of the above tips apply to your trip home as well, of course. So start adjusting your sleep schedule accordingly several days before your return flight. So if you are flying home from the East, go to bed a little later in the evening. This will help you overcome jet lag when you get back home. Typical jet lag symptoms occur especially when you have not been on a business trip for a long time or are taking one for the first time. So take all the above tips to heart and you will start your trip much more relaxed.
The disturbance of the sleep-wake rhythm cannot be completely avoided and there is no sensible treatment. Refrain from taking sleeping pills or melatonin products, as their effect has not been scientifically proven. Instead, try to take preventive measures long enough before departure to alleviate the symptoms of jet lag.
Conclusion: Avoiding jet lag on business trips will certainly not be a complete success. But with the above tips, you can make sure that the symptoms don't become so severe that they interfere with your business appointments.