3 Jet Lag Tips for the Consummate Corporate Traveller
The pronouncement colleagues, families, companies & even strangers tell chronic business travellers is actually an “alternate fact.” No matter how much we travel for business or pleasure, our bodies and Pleistocene brains have not caught up to our itinerant lifestyles. No matter how many times we journey from East to West or West to East, your body will give into either waves of drowsiness or extreme alertness. No matter how hard we try to master the life skill of hopping time zones, the Time Zone Change Syndrome will catch up. The resulting fatigue, concentration loss, indigestion, inability to stay awake or asleep – you know the rigmarole – will follow in its footsteps.
Fighting jet lag is like working on a leaky faucet; it requires constant maintenance. You think you have it under control and then a sneaky little drop will squeeze by. You can trick the body into believing that an average, every day environment surrounds it by walking on the plane or keeping yourself hydrated, but the jetlag will still set in.
We say conquering your circadian rhythm is akin to any other chore. You have to work on it. So, instead of wasting time fighting to either stay awake or fall asleep, follow these jetlag trips that genuinely work.
- The simplest way to acclimate to a new zone is to book a flight that allows for a rest period. Think of a flight that lands the evening before your meeting. You can go straight to the hotel, freshen up, have a meal and then get a complete night’s sleep. That discombobulated feeling that leaves your brain dizzy when you hop a time zone will not ensue. You will be fresh and alert for your client.
- Since not all companies will be ready to let you have an extra day on hand, think about exposure to sunlight. Natural light helps with getting rid of jetlag with commendable results. The reason being the pineal gland, the part of our brains which controls the biological clock, is affected by light and darkness. The more you get out and soak up the sun, the lesser the jetlag. Haven’t you ever wondered why beach destinations never result in lethargy? Well, now you know. For those travelling east, get more of afternoon light and for those travelling West, more of morning light.
- If catching up with sunbeams is not an option, then fasting is the tip you need. A body will remain awake if it knows there is a high probability of finding sustenance soon. So, the idea is to fast for at least fourteen hours before your flight time. This switches on brain’s starvation mode which in turn changes the sleep schedule. When you land, you can have a meal, and the body clock will automatically reset to the new time zone. This idea is best used when you have an early morning flight. One can have a light dinner made of veggies and fruits the day before and then sleep.
No professional should step across the door with a mind still bogged down by sleep before facing the rigour of a corporate meeting. It is why we did not offer tips to solving jetlag that need phenomenal levels of willpower, like staying awake late at night to pre-accustom the circadian cycle. Or on a magnanimous boss who will let you skip a day to have a lie-in.
There might come a time our bodies evolve to adapt to our jet-setting lifestyles. There might come a day when jetlag can be completely cured. That day is not today. Until then, we can only face the resulting havoc, taking with it many days of sleep and wakefulness. Or you can let us present to you the mightiest weapon against jetlag – a business class seat.
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