From the dawn of man to the Wright brothers, the human body could only travel at a limited speed. Commercial flight has offered a much faster alternative to cars, carriages or walking. As you might expect, speed comes at a cost - one of the most widespread side effects of traveling across several time zones at a high speed is jet lag. It doesn't affect everybody to the same extent but it does have an effect on pretty much everyone - and it doesn't have a cure. Luckily, it doesn't last for too long and there are quite a few ways in which you can reduce its effects.
Going from Europe to check out some of the top travel destinations in Mexico? Expect to be tired, to feel it difficult to focus, to experience changing moods, constipation, insomnia. The further you travel, the worse your symptoms will be. When you travel across several time zones, your body will be out of sync with the time of day at your destination and it will take time for it to adjust to the new sleep-wake cycle, bowel habits, and hunger.
Before you leave
When you prepare for a long-haul flight, you may want to start preparing for it days before. Relax your schedule and give your body and mind some time to prepare for the disruption: if you travel east, go to bed earlier each night, if you go west, stay up for longer. Prepare your digestive system by eating at times of the day when you'll do the same at your destination.
Try to schedule a flight that arrives at your destination early, leaving you enough time to get tired by the end of the day and get a good night's sleep. Sunlight will help you stay up - try to spend as much time outside as possible.
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If you travel for business and don't want your meeting to be disrupted by your constant yawning, make sure to arrive at least a couple of days before so you'll be in your top form when needed. When boarding the plane, adjust your watch to the local time of your destination, mentally preparing for the time of your arrival. Make sure to stay hydrated while you fly but avoid alcoholic drinks (they'll have the opposite effect) - dehydration will almost certainly enhance the effects of jet lag.
Plus, avoid keeping yourself awake or forcing yourself to sleep by drinking coffee or taking sleeping pills - after a caffeine rush, you'll feel tired, and after waking up from a pill-induced nap, you'll feel groggy. If you feel like taking a nap on the plane, don't resist but try to make sure not to sleep too much. And when you arrive, try to stay awake until it's bedtime at your destination, and have a good night's sleep.
While you won't be able to avoid jet lag completely - the more frequently you fly, the harder you'll be hit by it - but you'll be able to reduce its effects so that it won't ruin the first days of your vacation.