We don’t tend to write body copy in all caps around here, but we’re more tempted to do so with this next sentence than we’ve ever been. Summer is around the corner and travel is back on the agenda! Can we throw some biodegradable confetti? We really want to. For the first time in a little while, summer trips could feel “normal” this year. We don’t know about you, but we're rejoicing! But why not make it even better? One downside we’ve always faced amid these warm wanderlust-filled days is jet lag. So, let’s talk about how to beat jet lag with your summer self-care.
But First, What Exactly is Jet Lag?
It’s actually related to the reason sunrise alarm clocks exist: circadian rhythms. As Mayo Clinic explains, “Jet lag occurs because crossing multiple time zones puts your internal clock (circadian rhythms), which regulates your sleep-wake cycle, out of sync with the time in your new locale.”
Basically, your brain is like, “Why is it light (or dark) out right now? That’s all wrong and we aren't going to behave accordingly!” But how do we beat jet lag if it’s a natural response? You might not expect a summer self-care routine to have an impact, but it certainly can. Here’s how...
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule Pre-Flight and Be Consistent
Start your bedtime regimen an hour earlier or set the alarm for 30 minutes back and stick to it.This is especially smart if you have a short but super exciting trip. Jet lag can take a while to wear off naturally. Depending on the extent of your time zone shift and how sensitive your body is to it, it could take a full week (yikes!!). But if you can adjust your sleep schedule before you leave to better align with the shift you’ll be making, it could help.It's also a great idea to stay consistent, whether that means keeping your usual routine or sticking to a new one once you start it. When you stay up late one night and not the next, your body gets confused. This could result in jet lag being worse later on. Getting to bed at a smart time, on time is the move to beat jet lag.
Have Good ‘Sleep Hygiene’
In case you haven’t heard of it before, “sleep hygiene” refers to “healthy habits, behaviors and environmental factors that can be adjusted to help you have a good night’s sleep.” One of those adjustable behaviors is actually what we just talked about: a consistent bedtime!
But others include eating well, taking the right supplements, and setting up an environment conducive to sound sleep. Here are a few tips on the latter:
- Try not to look at screens for an hour or so before you plan to head to bed.
- Move clocks so that they aren’t in your line of sight from bed, as viewing the time can create a sense of panic about going to sleep.
- Keep the room as cool as is comfortable for you, because we don’t thermoregulate as much when in REM sleep and this results in a desire to maintain coolness.
- Use earplugs or noise machines to reduce interruptions from loud or repetitive noises. Even if they don’t fully wake you, such noises can be registered in the brain during sleep and disrupt REM.
When your body is good at getting good sleep, it will likely fare better in the circumstance of jetlag. For that reason, sleep hygiene should be a part of your mission to beat jet lag with your summer self-care regimen. (But it should really also be a part of every other season’s routine, too.)
Ingest the Right Things
We already touched on the idea of a healthy diet, but we’ve got another tip...
We’re sorry to say it, but if you want to prepare to avoid jet lag before a big trip, you might think to limit your alcohol intake. While it might make you fall asleep quicker, it reduces your body’s ability to achieve REM sleep, which is the restorative kind. For the last few hours before bed, say goodbye to that glass of merlot.
In addition to reducing alcohol consumption, you should consider improving your supplement routine. A cup of Sleepy time tea is never a bad idea either, but regularly supplementing to assist your body in its winding-down process will have short- and long-term benefits. In the short term, you can beat jet lag with your summer self-care if the right supplements are in the game. In the long term, you will be giving your body a leg up for years and perhaps decades—imagine what so much sound sleep could do for your lifelong wellness?
But what should you look for in a supplement to support great sleep?
Well, not melatonin! That might surprise you, but this is one time we have chosen to buck the trend, and we’ve outlined why in another blog post: 6 Reasons We Went Melatonin-Free.
And here is what else your sleep supplement should have:
- L-theanine and chamomile flower to relax the mind and body
- Magnesium to relax muscles
- Rhodiola rosea root to decrease stress levels
- Holy basil leaf to reduce stress and anxiety through an adaptogen
- Valerian root to ease sleeplessness and restlessness
- Vitamin E to prevent insomnia and other sleep issues
- Vitamin C to produce serotonin in the brain to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle
If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a list to keep track of,” don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. When we talked about how we went melatonin-free, we were speaking to our MindYourMind supplement formula. It includes all of the above and even a few more sleep-promoting ingredients, for a good night’s sleep. Every night.
We might be a tad biased, but the reviews (and our team’s reverence for those little capsules)speak for themselves. MindYourMind could undeniably be a key factor in your mission to beat jet lag. And if you ask us, it should always be a part of your nighttime routine!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Okay, yeah, we’re all a touch tired of hearing celebrities attribute flawless skin to drinking water. But water really is a key component in most all areas of wellness. Sleep included! When you are dehydrated, it can make jet lag worse. Consider upping your hydration game with a chic water bottle you’ll want to use on the daily. And be sure to keep drinking water during your travels. Especially since planes are known to dehydrate us! If you can follow these four tips, you’ll be well on your way to a world where you beat jet lag and can immediately get out and experience your destination! It’s all in the summer self-care, which can be enjoyable in and of itself. So, what are you waiting for? Buy the plane ticket, book the hotel room, map out the adventure—and overhaul your bedtime routine.