My Tried-and-True Getting Over Jet Lag Solution (when traveling from North America to Europe)
How many people have told you to “just stay up all day” as soon as you arrive at your destination (usually in the morning)? In my experience, traveling to Europe extensively for the past 30 years, this will only prolong your acclimation to the time difference. I HIGHLY encourage travelers not to plan any major sightseeing on their first day. Don’t want to wake up at 2:00 in the morning local time tossing and turning, setting yourself up for a vicious cycle of sleeplessness for days? Do you want to have more clear memories of your European adventures when you get back home? Follow my advice!
Here’s what works like a charm and what has worked for our clients throughout the years:
During your flight: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of water on your flight. Don’t skip the water in order to avoid having to get up and go to the bathroom (even though airplane bathrooms are the worst). Getting up and moving about on your flight is good for you, too.
Upon arrival: Your first purchase should be a bottle of water (to learn more about obtaining local currency click here[link]). Once you’ve hydrated some more, get some fresh air, and MOVE. If possible and depending on your schedule, walk around to get acquainted with your environs. Chances are your accommodations aren’t available for check-in yet anyway. (but if you want to find out how to check-in early, click here [link]).
While you’re out and about, scope out a good lunch spot and have something LIGHT, along with a calming beverage of choice. I always like to have a glass of the local wine or beer. Herbal tea is also a great choice. Then, as soon as you get to your hotel, it’s off to bed for a nap. Yes, that’s right, a nap — a glorious nap!
Set your alarm for around 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. local time. You’ll sleep hard, I promise, and you will not want to wake up when that alarm goes off but you must, or you’ll be setting yourself up for yet another sleepless cycle during your trip.
When you wake up, refresh yourself and prepare to have dinner at a normal local time (differs per country). After your evening meal, try to walk around a little more before retiring to your room.
Go to sleep at what you consider your “normal” bedtime, but in local time. (A word about sleep aids: Highly recommended as needed. Use whatever works for you- over-the-counter medications, Melatonin, prescription- especially for your first night).
You’ll be able to wake up the following morning refreshed and reset to local time. You might encounter a midday slump on this second day, but you’ll get through it and then be ready to fall into bed the second night, ensuring a good night’s sleep.
If you follow these tips, you will quickly become acclimated and ready to enjoy and be fully present for the remainder of your trip.