Travelling across time zones can be an exciting part of a vacation. Any shock you might experience at the changing time is absorbed by the relaxed nature of your adventure and the extra time you have to sleep. But what about business travellers who travel often and need to hit the ground running when they land in a new timezone for a few days? Here are two methods to beat jet lag that have worked for me. Obviously, the value you derive will be restricted by your specific sleep needs and ability to get out of bed!
- Plan ahead for jet lag. Like many things in life, planning for a major transition will not only allow you to approach it with more grace, but get through it with a better sense of purpose. Having your clock jump four, six, or even 12 hours is a massive transition for your body and anything you can do to prepare for the switch will help. I typically spend a day or two before my trip adjusting my sleep pattern. If you can naturally approach a schedule that’s within a few hours of your new sleep pattern, you’ll be able to jump into the new timezone with a flourish!
- If you don’t have time to gradually shift into your new sleep pattern, you can force it by shocking your body with sleep deprivation. Simply keep yourself awake starting 30 hours before the time you need to wake up in the new time zone. Use the last 8 hours to catch up on sleep. The trick is to time those 8 hours so you wake up on-time for your destination’s clock. If you can, plan your flight so that you’ll arrive just as everybody is starting their day in the new country, you’ll have slept during your flight and will arrive ready to begin work.