Doing the Pre-Jetlag Dance: Best Tips for Avoiding Jetlag

Jetlag Tips by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I are getting ready for a weekend trip to Europe and we are in the middle of “pre-jetlagging.”  What is this madness?

I think we can all agree that jetlag + 3.5 days in Europe = No Bueno.  Jetlag is even worse when one comes from California, making Europe that much further.

We make a weekend trip to Europe enjoyable by doing everything we can to battle jetlag ahead of time.

How We Pre-Jetlag

In order to prepare ourselves, we try to get our bodies on east coast time (or further) by the time we leave.  Starting with 5 days before the trip, we get up one hour earlier each day.  On our departure day, we’re up at 3am.

Getting up early means going to bed early, so we head to bed a bit earlier each night.  We weren’t strict about this our first couple trips and it only succeeded in making us exhausted.  To go to bed early, we start taking melatonin about 30 minutes before bedtime.  Melatonin is a natural supplement that helps control your body clock — you can find it with other nutritional supplements at the grocery or drugstore.

In addition to help beating the jetlag, it’s pretty awesome to have that extra time in the morning.  Mr. P and I usually make breakfast together or work out.  Plus, we can leisurely pack our suitcase instead of being in a rush.

This has been our method for the last several years.

Battling Jetlag Once We Get There

Sunshine & walking around:  We usually touch down in the morning or early afternoon.  We dump our luggage at our hotel or apartment and go out for lunch.  Being outside helps our body clocks adjust.

An afternoon nap:  If we land before lunchtime, we’ll take a 1-2 hour afternoon nap.  You have to make sure to get up and go out after though.  It does no good if you sleep until midnight.  If we land after lunchtime, we’ll skip the nap.

Dinner plans:  We keep ourselves honest by making dinner plans for our first night.  I’ll make dinner reservations before we leave on the trip or plans to meet friends in town.  Having somewhere to be is a great incentive to get up from the nap!

Stay up til a reasonable hour the first night:  We don’t stay up late, but we stay up until what we think is a socially acceptable time for someone to go to sleep and not seem like a sloth.  Anytime after 9pm is fantastic.

More melatonin:  By the time we head to bed on the first night, we’re really tired.  But, this doesn’t mean that our bodies won’t wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep.  Melatonin will help us fall asleep and sleep through the night.  We’ll take it for the first 2-3 days of a trip at bedtime.

How do you deal with jetlag?

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