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Tips on avoiding the jet lag blues

Feb 17, 2012, 11:37 a.m.

Jet lag can leave you dragging when you arrive at your long-anticipated vacation destination. Not only does jet lag cause you to "waste" a day recovering, but you also waste a portion of the money you paid for the trip, holed up inside of your hotel room. After all, you can sleep at home. Jet lag symptoms range from extreme fatigue to nausea to confusion. Jet lag can even cause insomnia. And, as unfair as it seems, jet lag tends to affect those of us over 50 more intensely than younger travelers. However, you don't have to just grin and bear it. There are several things you can do to minimize the jet lag blues.

  1. Pamper yourself before the trip. Too many of us are packing and finishing up projects at the last minute, resulting in our being near exhaustion before we ever board the plane. No wonder we suffer from jet lag. For your next trip, vow to start getting ready well in advance of the trip. Don't forgo your exercise routine or your healthy diet before you depart. You'll be surprised at the difference.
  2. Avoid coffee, soda and alcoholic drinks. Coffee and soda are stimulents; beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are depressants. Both can lead to dehydration, which exacerbates jet lag. Instead of that glass of wine, opt for a bottle of water. You'll be more in the mood to enjoy local wine after you arrive at your vacation destination.
  3. Choose your seat assignments wisely. Where you sit on the plane can help you combat jet lag. Having easy access to the aisle allows you to walk around during the flight, which doctors also recommend to prevent blood clots. If traveling as a couple, try to pick aisle and window seats next to one another. If the plane only has three seats together, still choose the aisle and window. If the flight is less than full, there's a good chance you'll get an empty seat between you.
  4. Try the Jet Lag Diet. Fans of this pre-trip diet have included Ronald and Nancy Reagan during their White House years. Though there is no medical evidence that this diet truly reduces jet lag, many travelers swear by it. The diet involves following a strict regimen of feasting and fasting prior to your trip. For all of the details, read about the Jet Lag Diet.

Do you have any jet lag remedies you'd like to share with our readers? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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