I’ve been a road warrior now for almost 4 years in my current role. I’d be lying if I said anything other than that I love it. But, it does manage to take a toll on the body and mind. Jet lag or, as the Mayo Clinic also calls it, Jet lag disorder is a problem that too many road warriors know all too well. Your sleep patterns are thrown to the wind. Your cognitive abilities deteriorate somewhat, your can experience gastro issues and your can experience anxiety that has no basis in anything other than your body really no longer knows which way is up.
I remember the first time I was sitting in a board meeting for an organization that I was working for and suddenly I found everything going dark. It was a slow motion effect that I could not grasp at first. Then my neck snapped me back into the land of the living as I had fallen asleep at the meeting table.
Thankfully no one noticed that gaff. As I hastily assessed the situation, it dawned on me that two other board members had also nodded off at the table. Jet lag had started to sink in. Little did I realize the troubles that would cause me in the coming years but, as I dealt with it I learned some tricks to help combat it that I wanted to share.
First off, when you’re on a long haul flight in particular you need to avoid drinking alcohol if possible. Sure, there are free drinks but, like anything that is “free” you end up paying in some manner. You dry out rather quickly on a long haul flight and alcohol really doesn’t help. Drink lots of water. I personally grab a couple bottles of water before I board a flight.
A second trick that I learned was making use of compression clothing. When you’re sitting on an extended flight the blood in your body will tend towards pooling in your lower extremities. Your feet can feel swollen. I use compression socks, pants and a shirt under my regular clothing to encourage blood flow. I also make sure to walk up and down the aisles of the plane at intervals so as to avoid the possible clots. To that end I do take a low dose aspirin before a flight but, this is by no means medical advice. This is merely what works for me.
Third note is, take a probiotic. You’ll thank me later.
The Fourth thing I make use of is an herbal supplement which contains Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Lavender and Rhodiola. This helps me to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety that comes with bad jet lag. No one ever told me about that part before and I when I puzzled it out it was a moment of clarity.
This is not an exhaustive list and your mileage will vary but, in an effort to expand this discussion you can leave a comment with what has worked for you to deal with jet lag.
Thanks for reading!
(Image used under CC from Frankie Roberto)