My tried and true tips.
As a professional speaker and business consultant, I spend a not insignificant amount of time traveling to conferences and to meet with clients. While it is a dream job and I am very lucky, the travel comes with the realities of jet lag.
If you also travel often for work – for destination weddings or attending wedding conferences – you know that you often have to hit the ground running with little time to deal with all the side effects of jet lag. Here are my top tricks for minimizing jetlag’s impact:
1. Make Your Destination Time Zone Your New Boss
Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the current time in your destination and then behave accordingly. This means you will eat, sleep, and work on your new time zone, regardless of the time it actually is wherever you are in the air.
MY AIR TRAVEL HACKS FOR SLEEPING
If you have trouble sleeping on planes, just remember that sleeping is a skill and like any skill you can work to improve it. While I am still not one of those people who can fall asleep the second I close my eyes and I’ve yet to figure out how to make the 20-minute power nap work for me, when it comes to sleeping on planes, I am now a pro. Here is how I do it:
I prefer the Howard Leight by Honeywell ear plugs because they don't hurt my ears. As a bonus, each pair comes individually wrapped, so you can toss them in your personal carryon without them getting gross.
I’ve been a religious user of the 40 Blinks sleep mask by Bucky for over a decade. The eye area is contoured and doesn’t lay flat against your eye lids like normal sleep masks. This allows room for your lashes to flutter so that your REM sleep isn't interrupted.
I also bring this cushioned footrest hammock by Sleepy Ride that keeps your feet elevated, allowing you to sleep no matter which cabin class you’re in. It works in both standard and extra leg room seats in any cabin. It is discreet and rarely noticeable except to possibly your seatmate (if you're using a blanket, it is not noticeable at all).
Keeping it real: sometimes I pop a Benadryl if my body does not want to cooperate in falling asleep at the new appropriate time, but if you can do it without a sleep aid, even better.
MY AIR TRAVEL HACKS FOR STAYING AWAKE
Since you’ll be awake while most people on the flight are asleep (because they are living in the present, you are not), here are a few things I do to make it all work:
When it comes to meals, you’ll be eating at the normal time in your destination time zone, not necessarily when the flight attendants serve food. This often means packing your own snacks: protein bars, nut butter packets with apple slices or a banana, etc.
I also bring a few of my own tea bags and Starbucks Via packets since airplane tea/coffee is not always the best. Just ask for a cup of hot water.
I recommend using the Libby app to download free library books and audiobooks to your Kindle or Audible app on your iPad or phone before your trip so that they’re ready for you on the plane. If your library uses Kanopy or a similar service, you can also download movies and TV shows.
This is not the time to pretend you are going to catch up on all the business books you haven’t gotten around to yet. Choose books that are fun and compelling – page turners that you can’t put down, ones that make you want to stay up reading.
2. Take Care of Your Legs
Medical-grade compression pantyhose are one of the best kept secrets among flight attendants, wedding planners, photographers, makeup artists, and other career women whose jobs require them to be on their feet for hours upon hours and to look stylish while doing so.
These work the same way compression socks or compression leggings do. Just like you can find on-trend compression socks these days, you can now also find on-trend sheer or opaque compression stockings that look just like the normal everyday tights you wear with your Fall and Winter dresses. Look for a medium strength of 15-20 mmHg, the same grade that flight attendants wear.
While the graduated compression helps circulation, preventing blood clots and the dreaded post-flight Cabbage Patch doll cankle situation, it also helps decrease the effects of jet lag – a lot. Like a lot, a lot.
Splendid Pro Tip: Some graduated compression pantyhose are control top, but most control top pantyhose do not offer compression through the leg, so make sure you double check when purchasing that you’re getting the right product.
3. Keep It Moving
If you’re not headed straight to a meeting when you arrive, one of the best things you can do is keep moving – literally.
Hit up the hotel’s fitness center or go for a run (some of the best networking at business conferences happens between 5-6 am in the hotel gym, so hopefully you’re bringing some type of exercise clothing with you).
If you don’t have space in your carryon, pack your workout gear at the top of your checked luggage so that if your hotel room isn’t ready when you arrive, you can still easily grab it to change into.
If you’re not feeling up for a workout, play tourist and visit a museum or get in some retail therapy (shopping is always the most fun in foreign countries) – this will force you to walk around, keeping you active.
Splendid Pro Tip: If you find yourself in certain cities a lot, buy an annual membership to a local museum. It’s a great place to hang between meetings, typically has a decent restaurant, and a surefire way to get inspired.