A recent study found why people flying eastward are having more difficulty to fight the effects of a jet lag. Unfortunately, we can't avoid not flying long distances East-bound.
The majority of people who travel long distances will experience some level of jet lag. For those who will be staying at a new destination for a day or two, the best advice is to stick with the schedule at home instead of adapting to the one in your destination.
But for those who are traveling long distances and staying longer at a new destination, here are some ways on how you can beat the effects of a jet lag once and for all.
Change your bedtime before leaving home. The adjustment starts way before you ride a cab to the airport. If you are traveling westward, you can adapt to the new time zone by adjusting your sleeping time one to two hours later. If you are traveling eastward, change your sleeping time one to two hours earlier. This will help you sleep better on your first night in a new time zone.
Mind what you eat during the flight. During long distance flights, it's understandable why people tend to eat more. After all, there is very little you can do in a confined space. But if you want to minimize the possible effects of jet lag, you should watch what you eat. A light meal during transit is advisable. You can resume full consumption when you reach your destination. However, do not skimp on water because you need to stay hydrated to prevent fatigue.
Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Bad news for Starbucks lovers or caffeine junkies for that matter. When you're in transit, caffeine causes you to stay "artificially" awake. On the other hand, alcohol makes you "artificially" sleepy and tired. Neither is good if you want to adapt to the new time zone. Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption can help ward off the possibility of staying awake in wee hours of the morning or waking up in the middle of the night.
More exposure to light speeds up recovery from jet lag. Darkness and sunlight influence and are rooted in the body's 24-hour cycle. When you are traveling westward, get that sunlight exposure during the late afternoon. When you are traveling eastward, go outdoors in the morning to help adjust the body clock. If you can't get natural light sources, exposure to indoor lighting can also help you adjust.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends breaking up long trips with short stops in the middle if it can be arranged and sleeping on the plane.
After arriving at your destination, the federal health agency advises not making any important decisions on the first day to help the body adjust first to its full capacity. Taking short naps during the day, usually 20 to 30 minutes, can help. Longer naps will make it harder for you to sleep at night.