The wheels of your plane have just rumbled to a stop at your arrival gate. It’s 6 a.m. in Paris—your honeymoon heaven for the next week—and 11 p.m. back home. Perfect, you think. Time for a quick nap before exploring the City of Love later in the day.
Sounds like a plan to help your body cope with the jet lag you’re feeling, right?
On the surface, yes. Come evening, however, your body is going to regret this approach.
To help beat jet lag, also known as time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis, here are four effective steps to take:
Do not nap.
Your first instinct upon arriving in your honeymoon heaven may be to hit the sheets. DON’T DO IT! (At least not for some shut eye…) While your body may be begging for sleep, rather than take a power nap it’s best to power through the rest of your day. This will make falling asleep at a normal hour in your new time zone much easier, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep from the get-go and let your body adjust faster. Napping upon your arrival can just further confuse your body, and prevent you from being able to rest that night.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
It’s easy to fall behind on your daily water quota on long travel days, putting you in danger of arriving in paradise dehydrated. As a result, you may experience headaches, muscle cramps dizziness, and sluggishness—all of which elevate symptoms of jet lag exponentially.
Help yourself feel your best by making an effort to drink adequate amounts of H2O at the airport, in flight, and upon your arrival. (Yes, airplane bathrooms tend to gross me out, too, but they’re not as bad as starting out your honeymoon dehydrated!) To make staying hydrated easier, pack a reusable water bottle in your carry-on and fill it up after passing through airport security.
But first, coffee.
As long as you’re making sure you’re drinking enough water to combat the dehydrating effects of caffeine, use your case of jet lag as an excuse to find the nearest must-visit café. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re going to want to know this come morning anyway, and a cup or two early in the afternoon may give you the pick-me-up you need to stay upright the rest of the day. (Caveat: If you’re someone like me who can’t sleep if they drink caffeine too late in the day, just be aware of the time so as not to mess with your sleep schedule that night. If, however, you’re like Mr. Smitten and call fall asleep on command, go coffee crazy!)
Fuel with fruits and veggies.
This one may be obvious, but if you step off the plane and head straight for something deep-fried or sugar-laden, you’re going to make it more difficult for your body to seize the day. Rather than opt for the nearest fast food, look for fresh veggies and fruits. Not only will they help hydrate you, but their nutrients will help you feel more alert. Carpe diem!