One of the worst parts of intercontinental travel is jet lag. If you are traveling for business, you probably are not given any time to get used to the local time zone. You’re expected to arrive and hit the ground running. Here are my suggestions:

Before Your Trip

  • Eat well and get good rest.
  • Don’t forego sleep in an attempt to get sync’d with the new time zone. I have a friend who stayed up all night before a trip to Asia, only to discover that he was unable to sleep on the plane and basically went two days with no sleep before his big trip.
  • Exercise before your trip. You don’t know when you’ll have a chance to exercise again, and it will help you sleep.
  • Dress comfortably so that you can sleep on the plane.
  • If your time zone is only a few hours off (like West Coast to East Coast), try to adapt your schedule a little bit before your trip by adjusting your bedtime hours slightly before your trip (if you have that kind of previous notice). If your destination time zone is way off (like going to Asia), forget about it.
  • Remember to bring ear plugs and eye mask.
  • Bring books, iPod and/or movies to watch on your computer.

During Your Flight

  • Go ahead and sleep on the plane if you want, even if it’s not night at your destination. I do this regularly. Since quality of sleep on a plane is poor, I usually can still get to sleep after I reach my destination.
  • If you can’t sleep, try to do some work. This won’t really help your jet lag, but if you can get caught up on the plane, you might be able to take a nap after you land.
  • Combat motion sickness with ginger chewing gum. Having motion sickness is not only really unpleasant, but makes you exhausted afterwards. Bad if you need to hit the ground running. Ginger chewing gum works wonders for me, and it doesn’t have the bad side-effects of Dramamine.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol or coffee.
  • I personally don’t use sleeping pills to combat jet lag. It works for some people though. If you want to try something, I suggest Melatonin, which is not a drug.

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After Your Flight

  • If you arrive in the morning, take a shower if you can. It will invigorate you.
  • Get some sunlight and some exercise, if possible.
  • If you can’t sleep at night, prep for the next day. Don’t lie awake in bed.
  • Have coffee or tea if you have trouble staying awake during the day.
  • Trip to stay up until the local bedtime before going to bed.

Personally, I like to arrive at night. I am normally a bit sleep deprived so I don’t have a problem going to sleep even when in a different time zone.

Well, those are my tips! Please share any ideas that have worked for you!

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