The jetlag. Oh, what do we hate the jetlag. It creeps up on you and sneakily steels your sleep, it messes up your travel schedule, gives you the worst bags under your eyes and it just basically sucks. I can imagine it’s one of the worst parts of traveling. I haven’t completely experienced a jetlag because I haven’t had a real jetlag in Singapore and back in the Netherlands. However, I do have a few tips to kick the jetlag’s butt, because I did do some things to try and run away from the jetlag. I did struggle in Singapore during the first day, because I was so tired and REALLY wanted to sleep.
Begin during the flight
Try and adjust to the local time when you’re already on the plane. Change the time-zone on your phone and act like it’s actually that time (because it is). If it’s night, try to sleep, if it’s day, try to stay awake. Obviously, if you have a long flight: there is some time to sleep and prepare you for the upcoming day at your destination. Just be careful you don’t sleep at like 4 PM at noon because it’ll be very hard to fall asleep at a sort of acceptable time at night. That’s something you’d want to avoid, start getting into the local rhythm right away so you can enjoy the next days at your destination without having a messed up rhythm. Some flights might help to get into the local rhythm. The plane to Singapore and the plane to Europe were helping to prevent the jetlag by adjusting the lights to the local time. For example, it was night when I left Singapore and it’d be day when I landed in Germany. Around 7 AM in local time, the lights started to slightly come back on and it gradually became brighter in the plane, just as the sun started to rise. Your body adjusts and starts to think it’s actually morning, while in your previous destination it’s already in the afternoon or still midnight.
Don’t get discouraged
While I haven’t had a real jetlag, I can imagine jetlag’s can be extremely frustrating at 3 AM at night or when you’re just really tired during one of the days of your trip. Try to keep it together, and trust me: you got this!! When you wake up, hoping there’s bright daylight outside, and it’s pitch black: just relax. Listen to what your body needs, go grab a glass of water, go eat something, listen to some calming music, read a book or listen to an audiobook/podcast to ease your mind. It’ll be okay. Don’t overthink the jetlag, because like me: you don’t always have a jetlag. Like always, once you really start to overthink something, it kinda becomes a part of you and you actually start to get the symptoms of it. Just relax, you’ll know when you have a jetlag and until then: just enjoy the moment, enjoy the flight and the beginning of your trip!
Absolutely no (long) sneaky naps
I must say, I did take a little sneaky nap when I was in Singapore. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and once I was checked-in in the hotel room I slept for about 45 minutes. Not sure, but naps less than like one hour aren’t the worst as long as it’s at the beginning of the day and not at seven PM at night for example. To keep your energy level as high up as possible, try to do some activities. Start exploring the city, go out for lunch, go swimming: just some activities that will require you to be active.
Hydrating is key
Hydrating yourself is important at all times, but especially when you’re flying. The air is dry and drinking water really helps during your trip and during the flight. Get a water bottle at the airport and take it with you on the plane, or carry a water bottle once you’ve landed at your destination. Always carry water with you, it makes it so much easier to remember to drink frequently. The early stages of de-hydrations can make you feel extra tired, staying hydrated will definitely help to kick the jetlag’s butt as best as you can. If you don’t like just plain water, adding a lemon/cucumber or some red fruit might help!
Take the meals at the local time
It might be hard to enjoy a breakfast while in reality back home or back at your destination you might be eating your dinner. However, as mentioned before, it is so important to get into the local rhythm and follow the local phase. It’s hard (or not), but once you’ve had one meal at the local time: it’ll be much better to handle and to follow the rhythm.
I mentioned before that I’ve only done one long haul flight, so I basically have no experience in jetlag’s. However, I do know a lot of friends that did have jetlag’s so I do kinda know what and how they get through a jetlag. Hopefully, next time when the uninvited jetlag comes along, these tips will help to kick it’s butt and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip a bit more!