3 Steps to Eliminate Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue
Traveling can be grueling, especially during the holiday season when we already juggle myriad responsibilities and considerations.
Add on the chaos of navigating an airport (hello, LAX, JFK, EWR!) and enduring high-speed air travel, and the experience of flying is super taxing on our minds and bodies.
Travel days can feel stressy. Here’s what you can do to help.
Whenever we move at speeds faster than we can comfortably walk, we experience fight-or-flight reactivity. When we consider that we’re also traveling at high altitudes, it’s no wonder many of us feel exhausted and jet lagged.
What if we could travel feeling easy and breezy and hit the ground running when we land at our destination?
Here is a tried and true protocol to help us do just that:
1. Meditate often during the flight to offset stress accumulation.
By calming down the mind through meditation, we also relax the body. As a result, we move away from the fight-or-flight experience and into a state of deep relaxation called “stay-and-play.”
Inside Vedic Meditation, we flood the body with a deep dose of rest that is many times more restful than sleep. This helps balance out any potential stress that comes from plane travel.
- Meditate upon take-off. Begin meditating as soon as you are settled in your seat and meditate for about 20 minutes until the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign.
- Meditate again at the tail end of the flight for another 20 minutes. This will provide another boost of energy before deplaning.
- If the flight duration is longer than 4-6 hours, meditating intermittently throughout the flight will also be very beneficial.
I can’t recommend meditating on planes enough. You’ll feel completely rejuvenated and fresh at the end of the flight.
2. Avoid eating too close to your departure time and fast on the flight if possible.
The constant change in cabin pressure disrupts our digestive system’s ability to create a stable environment to digest food properly.
As a result, any food consumed during the flight or just shortly before the flight will digest much more slowly and less efficiently.
Slow digestion can cause discomfort and bloating (also known as “jet belly”) and ultimately causes fatigue. Ayurveda, the Vedic science of health and well-being, shares that undigested food can cause a cascade of imbalances throughout the body.
In addition, the extra work our body has to go through to carry out what would otherwise be a normal function wears us out and affects our sleep.
Fasting on flights is extremely helpful in eliminating fatigue and jet lag. Eat lightly before boarding, and avoid eating on the flight if possible.
Sip warm beverages such as hot water or tea during flights to enhance digestion.
Pack a light, easy-to-digest snack in case hunger strikes on the flight.
What is easy to digest will be different for each individual, but I recommend avoiding nuts, trail mix, raw vegetables, and cheese as they are hard to digest for nearly everyone.
3. Hydrate well, starting 12 hours before and during the flight.
Airplane humidity levels range from 10-20%, compared to the 40-60% humidity we typically experience at home. Due to the dry environment, it’s easy for plane rides to dehydrate us from the inside out quickly.
To offset this, we want to ensure we start the trip well-hydrated.
Start taking in adequate amounts of water (this will also vary according to each person’s body type) one day before travel commences. Then, continue to hydrate throughout the day and on the flight.
If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
I suggest drinking lukewarm to warm/hot water as a general best practice, as your body can assimilate it quickly. It doesn’t take as much energy for the body to “warm up” the water internally.
By adding meditating, fasting, and hydrating into your travel routine, you’ll walk off the plane feeling well-rested, energized, and ready to take on what’s ahead.
And if you haven’t yet learned Vedic Meditation and are keen to build an easy and powerful meditation technique into your routine, click here to join me for a free Introductory Talk.