If you've ever traveled across several time zones for work, you probably know the discomfort of being extremely fatigued during the middle of the day, or waking up at the wrong time during the night. However, there are ways to trick your body and mind into operating optimally even though you're out of your normal element. Take some tips from a half dozen super travelers who say they've figured out how to reduce jet lag when traveling to and from another part of the world.
1. Adjust your watch to the destination time zone as you leave your origin city.
"I change my watch to the time where I'm going the moment I leave. So if I leave New York at five o'clock, at that moment I say 'It's not 5 o'clock.' I forget, and move to European time. I think you adjust more to what is going to come, versus regretting what has happened before. Also, when I arrive I try not to nap, drink a lot of water and expose myself to sunlight at the right times [to affect circadian rhythms]."
--Federico Gonzalez Tejera, CEO of NH Hotel Group, which operates about 400 hotels with nearly 60,000 rooms in 30 countries in Europe, America and Africa.
2. Use a sleep aid.
"I like to take a light sleep aid--like Tylenol PM--for the first two to three nights I'm in my new location, as well as the first few nights when I return. I've found that regardless of what time I go to bed when traveling overseas, I'll wake up multiple times throughout the night and getting a full-night of uninterrupted sleep is essential to adjusting quickly to the new time zone. Taking a light sleep aid will typically prevent any mid-night wake-ups, and even if I do find myself awake at 2 a.m., I can quickly fall back asleep and wake up feeling refreshed."
--Michael Fleisher, CFO for online home store Wayfair.
3. Wherever you are, exercise first thing in the morning.
"No matter where I travel to, I get up around 5 a.m. and run to maintain my routine. I like seeing the city when it's quiet and running gives me energy throughout the day and helps my body think my day is starting. Jet lag hits me harder when I don't exercise."
--Dean Sivley, president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
4. Opt for overnight flights.
"You'll have dinner at a normal time and be much more likely to sleep than on an afternoon flight. Depending on the length of the flight and the number of time zones you cross, you'll arrive at your destination in the morning or afternoon. This is the best way to replicate your normal schedule, and it'll be easier for you to reset your clock."
--Lluisa Salord, Corporate Commercial Director at Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts which has won numerous international awards in the holiday sector.
5. Adjust your schedule before your trip begins.
"I try to adapt my sleeping and eating schedules 12 to 24 hours in advance to coincide with the time zone in my upcoming destination. Sometimes that can mean reducing both sleep and food intake, so I can either be ready for bed or for a meal on arrival. In any case, I try to exercise on the departure day so I am ready to sleep on the plane."
--Ted Teng, president and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World, a luxury hotel collection with more than 375 hotels in over 75 countries.
6. Take advantage of the flight to rest.
"I tend to get my best sleep on planes, which for me are the one place I don't get constant interruptions. I enjoy the meal, perhaps one glass of wine... lay the seat back and hang your, 'Do not disturb' sign. If you're heading from East to West, you'll land in the morning at your destination rested, refreshed and able to start right into your work day."
--Ty Sawyer, cofounder of Jetzy, a geo-location based, user-to-user social app to connect and reward people with a passion for travel and authentic experiences.