We have found several ways to help us adjust to any time zone that we are flying to. Everyone is different, so you may need all of them or maybe only one or two. The first one about eating we have discovered is the number one way we successfully transition into any time zone (printable map).
Eating Meals According to the Time Zone
No matter if you are going one-time zone or 10, this has helped us assimilate quickly. Wherever you are–adjust to the local time for when you eat. If it is breakfast time, then eat breakfast; if it is lunchtime, eat lunch, and so forth.
Don’t Take a Nap
When you arrive at your hotel or wherever you are staying, don’t take a nap if you can help it. If you don’t think you can take one more step, take a power nap for 20 minutes, but no longer than 45 minutes. Then get out and go somewhere easy to explore, even if it is a restaurant to get something to eat.
Go for a Walk
Take a walk to become familiar with and to get a feel for your new location. If it is day time, take some time to explore your neighborhood. If it is night time, find a place that offers excellent views. Do something that you would typically do for the current local time as you would if you were at home at the same time. (Except if you are on holiday, don’t work!)
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule?
Some have suggested adjusting your sleep schedule starting a few days before you leave. This has not worked for me, especially when working typical work hours, but an idea worth sharing. Depending on which direction you are going, you could go to sleep earlier or later an hour or two for a few days before leaving. It may help, worth trying if nothing else has helped.
Cut Back on Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar, and Heavy Meals
Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar will naturally make it difficult to go to sleep if you arrive at night or hope to get some sleep during your flight. You should cut back about three days in advance. Heavy meals the day before you fly have also shown to make it difficult to adjust your sleeping rhythm.
Water seems to be promoted as a wonder drug for flying and traveling in general. What the heck? Why not try drinking more water. If it can help you avoid getting jet-lagged and reducing fatigue and stress, do it. Drinking more water is something easy that anyone can do. Start a couple of weeks in advance to get the full benefit of being hydrated. (Travel tip – take an empty water bottle with you through airport security, and then you can refill it for free in the terminal before boarding your flight.)
It’s Okay To Go To Bed Early
If you feel tired, it is okay to go to bed early, just not one in the afternoon! Please wait till the sun sets, so it feels more like it is time to go to bed. Obviously, this will depend on where you are and when the sun actually sets.
Airplane – Dreamliner (Boeing 787)
Three years ago, we flew on a Dreamliner aircraft from Oakland, California, to Stockholm, Sweden. It takes a little over 10 hours (8 time zones), and we felt no jet lag. We believe it was the way Norwegian airline controlled the cabins lighting and temperature, a benefit of the Dreamliner aircraft design. We also experienced the same positive results on our return from Copenhagen to Oakland. Something to think about. If we have an option, we will continue to fly on Dreamliner aircraft.
Know Where You Are Staying
Side note: If you believe you may be foggy-headed, be sure to have the name and address of the place you are staying, especially if it is not a major hotel that everyone would know where it is. This isn’t as important as it once was because of all the apps on our phones and the email confirmation you probably got. But just in case, be sure it is written down, and you have it with you.
If you have tips on adjusting, please share by leaving a comment.
Enjoy your trip!