There’s nothing that kills the joy of being in a new exciting place more than jet lag, especially if you are traveling with kids!
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How to Beat Jet Lag
Unfortunately, when you are traveling internationally the possibility of sleep deprivation aka jet lag is always a possibility. Jet lag is a temporary condition that can affect anyone who travels quickly through one time zone or to multiple time zones, and interrupts their sleep-wake pattern (circadian rhythm). Jet lag symptoms can include: lethargy and fatigue, sleep disturbances, confusion, lack of appetite, and irritability.
Before the Trip
Do yourself a favor and adjust your schedule slightly before your trip. If you’re traveling east, attempt to go to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. If you are flying west go to bed one hour later for several nights.
Sleep On The Plane
Try to sleep on the plane. I know for many this seems impossible, but there are a handful of ways to sleep on a plane. Many of them have to do with your overall personal comfort.
Bring Comfort Items
Bring a pillow and blanket. They will give you a thin blanket on the flight, but often times this isn’t enough to keep a person comfortable. Take a thin fleece that is easy to travel with and lightweight.
The airline will also give you a small pillow, but typically it’s not enough. Bring your own travel neck pillow as well. I personally fly with a Cloudz Cool Gel & Bamboo Memory Foam Travel Pillow and I love it!
Pick the Right Seat
Bed Seats – If at all possible spring for business class. The seats fold down into beds and this will greatly increase the chances that you will be able to sleep. I know a lot of people that work reward credit cards in order to get upgrades like this whenever they fly internationally. And although I am not big on credit cards in this instance, I think it is worth it.
Window Seat – Can’t afford a bed seat, opt for a window seat. If you are traveling with someone, I suggest they also get the window seat in front or behind you.
If you are uncomfortable sleeping in jeans or a suit at home, you will definitely be uncomfortable sleeping in them on a plane. Wear soft clothing that doesn’t overheat you.
Be Prepared for Issues
Every time I fly my head gets stopped up and I cannot breathe or pop my ears. I’ve also noticed that many passengers are quite gassy on a plane. Most of these issues are relatively easy to fix.
Peppermint Essential Oil – In case you become stuffed up a simple way to try and clear your sinuses is with a bit of peppermint oil. Just put a touch near your nose.
Gasalia® – Got gas? Take Gasalia® from Boiron. There are no restrictions on when to take Gasalia: it can be used before or after a meal. It can be taken on a full or empty stomach, which makes it ideal for travel. You don’t have to wait for them to serve a meal just to have some relief. Now if you could just find a subtle way to give it to the person sitting next to you.
Melatonin – If you can’t sleep take melatonin. It may help. Melatonin is safe for children. If your children struggle to take a pill, give them melatonin gummies instead.
EarPlanes – If you have hard time getting your ears to pop these are super helpful.
Ginger Ale – If you feel nauseous ask for a ginger ale. It may help.
Stay Away from Caffeine
Do not drink any coffee or soda on the plane. It can take up to 14 hours for the caffeine to leave your body. You don’t want to do anything that prevents you from getting rest.
Drink Lots of Water
Planes dehydrate you, so everyone needs to make themselves drink extra water. Staying hydrated is always a good idea, but it’s even more important when flying and traveling.
When you fly as the pressure around you decreases, the gas in your belly isn’t constrained as much and it expands. This can make some people feel quite bloated. There are several ways to combat bloating on a plane:
Avoid Salty Foods: Skip the tomato juice in flight and stick with non-carbonated water. Avoid alcohol, cruciferous vegetables, dairy and high-sodium snacks such as salted peanuts or pretzels.
Instead, eat foods that are protein packed, magnesium-rich and high in Vitamin C are good options.
Take Gasalia® – This homeopathic medicine from Boiron relieves bloating, pressure, discomfort and pain associated with gas.* They are tiny quick-dissolving, unflavored tablets melt under the tongue for a convenient and discreet way to relieve gas or bloating anywhere, even on a plane. Anyone ages 6 and up can take this.
White Noise App
I have a white noise app we use to help block out noise on flights and in hotel rooms. I use the Relax Melodies and set it to white noise and slow waves. Another good white noise app is White Noise. I recently discovered it after the other one tried to charge me for it. Do not pay for a white noise app, there are plenty of free ones.
What to do the First Day of Jet Lag
Plan to sleep when you arrive
If at all possible, try to arrive at the destination no later than 1 or 2 in the morning. You can immediately go to sleep and begin adjusting your internal clock. Although it is exciting to be in a new city and the pull to go explore is strong, do not do this. You need sleep, otherwise, instead of one day missed, you might end up on a weird schedule and miss all kinds of things.
Here are some things to consider when booking a hotel.
• Good Mattress – Often times the hotel’s website will tout what kind of mattress the rooms have. If not, call them and ask.
• Low Noise Levels – Check recent reviews of the hotel to see if others are complaining about noise.
• Black Out Curtains – If the website does not tell you, just call the hotel and ask or email them. If you are on social media you can tweet them.
• 24-Hour Food – Having food available when you need it is essential when battling jet lag with kids. Whether it is room service or a hotel restaurant with 24-hour service, it helps.
Stay Awake Until Sunset
If you arrive during the day, try your best to stay awake until at least sunset This can be extremely difficult, but you will be better off the longer you can keep yourself up. The next day stay awake even longer, try to make it an extra hour or two. When we got to Australia it literally took everything we had to stay up until 7:30 P.M. Each day got a little better.
Take the sleeping mask and earplugs the airline gives you.
These items will help you sleep better in the hotel room.
Do not sleep all-day
If it is daytime there, get outside. The sunshine will help you stay awake and help to re-sync your circadian rhythm.
Have Snacks on Hand
Consider packing 2 protein bars for each person or something else that would be fairly filling. That way when they wake up unexpectedly they can eat something filling quickly and go back to sleep.
Overseas Flight Packing List
- Sleeping mask
- Ear plugs
- Books – one or two per person
- Personal electronic device – iPhone, iPod, iPad, Yoga book
- Charger – one per device
- External battery packs
- Blanket – one per person
- Pillow – One per person
- Lip balm
- Moisturizing eye drops
- Gasalia® from Boiron Homeopathic Medicines