Business Travel: Best Ways to Battle Jet Lag
Traveling across time zones can be tough on your body and, if you’re on a business trip, you may not have the luxury of taking it easy for a day or two until you adjust.
So what can you do if you’re a business traveler with a long flight ahead and you have to hit the ground running when you arrive?
One thing you can do is to start your preparations in advance by slightly changing your sleep pattern. If you’re flying to Europe from the East Coast, for example, try going to sleep a little earlier than usual a few days beforehand. If you’re flying west, try to stay up a little later. And if you have a long drive to the airport, it may make sense to stay at a nearby hotel the night before, so that you can go directly to your flight in the morning.
It’s common to become mildly dehydrated on an airplane, and that can make your jet lag feel worse. So be sure to drink lots of water before, during and after your flight, while avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages that can contribute to dehydration. If you have access to an airport lounge, try to eat your main meal there. Eat several smaller meals and avoid heavy, rich food that can be difficult to digest. Remember that the same healthy habits you strive for in your daily life will serve you well while you’re coping with jet lag — lots of fruits and vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
Even when you’re at the airport waiting for your flight, try to keep moving. Remember that you have hours of sitting ahead of you, so take a walk around the terminal, get a bite to eat or browse in the airport shops. While you should try to get some sleep on the plane, it’s also a good idea on a long flight to get out of your seat and walk up and down the aisle every once in awhile. Learn some simple exercises you can do at your seat that involve stretching your arms and legs and moving your shoulders to keep the blood circulating and prevent cramps.
When you arrive at your destination, it’s common to feel a little lethargic. Your first inclination may be to take a nap, but you’ll be better off if you try to stay awake, eating and sleeping according to your current time zone. Staying active can also help your body clock adjust. If you’ve got time before your first meeting, get some fresh air by taking a walk around the hotel or catch up on work email.
Remember that your Travel Leaders agent can work with you to help plan your trip in a way that will lessen jet lag. That may include finding options like fewer connecting flights, or flights that leave at better times, or hotels that provide amenities to help combat jet lag, like spa treatments.
For help planning a business trip, contact your travel agent.