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Dealing With Jet Lag

A speedy recovery from jet lag will leave you ready to start your fun filled vacation

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Everyone wants a fun filled vacation when they come to Miami. However, if you have traveled more than a few hours on a plane through different time zones, you will probably experience some degree of jet lag when you arrive. While you cannot avoid jet lag completely, follow these tips for a speedy recovery.

What is Jet Lag?
We all have a natural body clock. The daily sunlight and darkness each day tells us when to wake up and go to sleep. This rhythm is also helped by our mealtimes and daily activity. Crossing over time zones disrupts our body clock and causes us to be out of sync with the time zone we are in. This leaves us tired and sleepy at odd times during the day. Furthermore, the effects of flying have been proven to worsen the symptoms of jet lag due to the dry air on the plane, and lack of movement on long flights.

Before you fly
Depending on which way you are flying, try starting your new time zone a few days before you leave. Move your dinner an hour earlier or later, and the same with your bedtime. Don’t work up to the very last minute; leave home rested and relaxed, not sleep deprived. 

On the plane
As soon as you board the plane, change your watch to reflect the time in Miami. Stay hydrated on the plane by drinking lots of fluids - water and juice work best. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as both of these will dehydrate you, making your jet lag worse. If you are on a night flight, try and sleep on the plane. Bring ear plugs and an eye mask to help you sleep by blocking out the noise and light.

Keep active on the plane by doing the in-flight seat exercises that are demonstrated in the plane magazines. These include ankle circles and lifting your knees. The movement keeps your circulation flowing, another way to beat the jet lag.

Arriving in Miami
Once you arrive, the best thing you can do is to keep to the Miami time zone. Don’t remind yourself what time it is back home, and stay awake until a normal bedtime. Being outside in the natural sunlight will help you reset your internal clock. Some people use their sleep medication, but the best thing for jet lag is trying to keep to the new time zone right away and drink plenty of water.

Here is also a small reminder for the girls… If you are taking a contraceptive pill, that is the one thing that needs to be taken on your old time zone. Keep a watch with an alarm on it to remind you to take your pill at the correct time.

Leaving Miami
If you are traveling back to Europe, there’s a trick I use that helps me deal with my jet lag. When you get home, leave the bags and go straight to bed for two hours, no more. This will keep you going until a normal bedtime and help your personal clock restore itself.

Jet lag, while unavoidable, can be much easier to deal with using these helpful tips. If you do find yourself fighting fatigue in the middle of the day, go outside and take a walk in the sunshine. Another tip is to choose good flight times. Yes, it may be a cheaper to fly at 6am, but the early start will leave you exhausted. Everyone looks forward to their vacation, so the more you can do to fight your jet lag, the better your trip is going to be.

About the Author:

A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Jess.

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