Whether you’ve come down with the sniffles after a trans-Atlantic flight or you’re jetlagged after a major time zone shift, it can be hard to bounce back and feel like yourself again in the immediate aftermath of a vacation or work trip. Jet lag isn’t the only factor that can make you feel crummy after a long trip – airplanes aren’t exactly the cleanest, healthiest environments to hang out in for hours at a time, and you can end up with a bug of some kind even if you diligently wash your hands. If you’re feeling out of sorts and unwell after a trip, these steps can help get you back on your feet quickly.
Enjoy Some Sunshine
The sun helps regulate our sleep cycles, so getting out and feeling the sun on your face can work wonders when it comes to fighting off jet lag. If it’s daytime and you’ve just arrived at your destination, whether it’s the place you’re visiting or your home, don’t get in bed. Go for a walk instead. A short stroll in the sun can put you on a better path to recovery than going to sleep.
No matter how tempting it is to stay inside, remember that spending time outside will put you on a normal schedule faster than giving in to your desire for a midday nap. Even if you just sit outside and read a book or talk with your travel partner, you’ll be doing yourself a bigger favor than you will with a nap.
Take Control of Your Sleep Schedule
As tempting as it is to sleep during the day, you should do everything you can to enforce a bedtime during normal night hours. Feeling wide awake can be a major hurdle to clear for this step, but enforcing a normal sleep schedule sometimes means calling in some reinforcements. Over-the-counter sleep aids like NiteClear® Sleep Aid, are super helpful in getting your body’s natural rhythms back on track and setting yourself up for nighttime sleep success. You can also do yourself a favor by exercising during the day, getting out in the sun while it’s available and avoiding exposure to artificial light from computer or phone screens when the sun goes down.
Chances are you’ll have some abnormal sleep for the first couple of days after your flight, but that’s to be expected. Don’t take it as a sign the meds aren’t working – you never know how much worse off you’d be if you hadn’t tried to get yourself to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Headaches are a common side effect not only of jet lag but also of stress, lack of sleep and the dehydration that can result from hours spent on an airplane. Fight headaches with a combination of fresh air, good food, plenty of water and an over-the-counter pain reliever, which can take the edge off your discomfort so you can focus on doing the important jet-lag recovery tasks on your list.