It’s prime travel season, and many of our FLYers are taking to the skies in search of R&R. But without a strategy, a long-distance trip can work the opposite way, with jet lag leaving you lethargic. So we sat down with Flywheel Washington DC instructor and London-born Alex Robinson for tips on beating the post-vacation blues:
Before my wife Brooke and I were married, we did the distance — there was a lot of transatlantic flying 3,000 miles from London to DC. Of course, a five-hour time difference and over seven hours of travel was tough, and I tried everything — even that weird tip from Die Hard about walking around with no shoes, which doesn’t work (in case you were wondering). Here’s what does:
1) Set a sleep strategy.
I find that a decent nap of around three to four hours as soon as possible after landing works well. I was generally so wiped out from traveling that I was still tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable time. If you stay awake until the evening rolls around, don’t commit to going to work, or do anything to really tire you out.
2) Stay hydrated.
Combine dehydrating, dry airplane air with the lack of sleep, and you’ll be even more lethargic. Sip plenty of water during and after your flight, and don’t guzzle java to stay awake: Coffee, in large quantities, can upset your stomach and make jet lag worse.
3) Avoid alcohol.
British Airways offers it for free (tempting!) but alcohol is another dehydrating drink. Plus, you’ll put your body under even more stress if you load it with booze. Plan on catching some shut-eye? Alcohol actually interferes with sleep as it interrupts REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Keep sipping water instead.
4) Eat well.
Yes, this is a tough one – especially in airports. Plan ahead and grab something clean and healthy for the airplane. A common side effect of jet lag is an upset stomach, so follow my food rule: keep it plain on the plane.
5) Get moving.
Get up and go for a walk down the aisles, stretch your legs, shoulders, neck – any body part you can. You’ll improve circulation, therefore feel more energetic in-flight and when you land.