I recently returned from a magical 10-day vacation in Spain, which is a 6-hour time difference from where I live in Massachusetts. My biggest fear about returning was that I would likely feel jet lag for the next six days or so. (They say it takes one day per hour of time difference to adjust). But…I didn’t feel one hint of jet lag! Why? Because I bio-hacked my body, which essentially means I used nature to reset my body so it would adjust quickly.
I was reminded about these strategies from a biohacking expert at a recent Functional Diagnostic Nutrition conference I attended and was excited to put them into practice after this trip.
Want to skip the jet lag during your next trip? Try some or all of the following tips:
Physically touching your bare feet onto the ground is an incredibly powerful but simple way to reset your circadian rhythm and align the body.
This is a practice called grounding. It connects you with the earth’s energy, putting you into alignment with your environment. This is also a great tactic to use anytime you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or disconnected.
Natural sunlight sends a powerful message to the brain that it’s time to be awake.
This signal increases cortisol production and keep melatonin (our sleep hormone) low. If you need to power through the day after a flight, standing out in the sun for a few minutes can recharge and rest your body to adjust quickly.
While you’re out there, focus on taking several deep breaths in to fill your body with fresh air and expel stale air from a plane, train, bus or car.
Another way to adapt your body to the current time zone is to move. The day after our nine-hour flight and six-hour time change traveling back from Spain, I did an hour-long vinyasa yoga class and came out feeling so energetic and grounded.
Moving my muscles after being cramped on a flight for so long helped my lymphatic system to detox and my muscles and energy to regenerate itself. This also got blood flowing and stimulated areas of my body to be alert for the day. As a bonus,movement is also incredibly important for supporting good digestion, as I talk about in this blog post, so it does your whole body good!
Another way to move energy and reduce jet lag is by scheduling an acupuncture appointment the day of or day after coming back from a jet lag-inducing flight. I scheduled my appointment at a local community acupuncture spot (yes, that’s a thing and it’s VERY affordable!) the day before leaving for my trip for two reasons:
I loved looking forward to acupuncture at the end of my first day back in the office and definitely felt the difference! I slept like a baby that night (that’s one of the biggest benefits I get from acupuncture) and woke up without any drowsiness the next day.
Especially if you’re coming back from an indulgent trip, it’s important to load your body with key minerals and nutrients it’s been lacking for days. Specifically, B vitamins and magnesium tend to get depleted quickly in the body by stress, travel, or operating in different time zones. So, it’s a great way to help nourish and energize your body and reduce jet lag.
Here are some highly nutrient-dense foods to focus on the day of and a couple days after travel or arriving in a different time zone:
It’s easy to under-hydrate when traveling, either because buying water everywhere can get expensive, you’re just not thinking about it, or you made alcohol your main beverage of choice. Either way, your body is likely craving water, and this can make jet lag worse. As I explain in my post on avoiding constipation while traveling, you should aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water, but likely you need even more. If you’ve done a lot of walking or hiking or were in a hot, dry, or humid climate, your body burned through fluids much faster. Add on the dry environment on the plane, train, bus, or car you were in and your body needs some serious H2O!
Drinking a lot of water upon returning from your trip will help flush out toxins that can leave you feeling sluggish, as well as help your body rejuvenate and refresh itself to adapt quicker to the time change. Of course, the more water you can remember to drink during your trip the better you will feel, so don’t skimp on this!
I love using adaptogens for myself and with many of my clients. Adaptogens like ashwagandha or holy basil (tulsi) are great ways to help the body adjust not only to a different time zone but to changes in sleep patterns and stress. Adaptogens are natural herbs that are designed to help the body…well…adapt!
I take fermented ashwagandha from Ancient Nutrition and also drink a cup of ashwagandha or holy basil tea throughout the day. Adaptogens are also a great way to balance cortisol levels and adapt better to stress. That’s why I often recommend them to clients who have been chronically stressed and those I’m doing hormone testing on as it’s one of the first steps in balancing ALL of your hormones.
If you’re interested in working with me to run a hormone lab test or any other functional lab test (digestion, liver, thyroid, food sensitivities, autoimmunity, etc.) sign up for a free introductory call with me here and we’ll chat to see if we’re a fit to work together!
Excited to know there are ways to overcome jet lag faster rather than having to put up with it for days? I’m so happy you now have all of these tips. They’re each incredibly easy to do, and as a bonus, they’re some of the most self-loving things you can do, so your body will thank you in more ways than one.
Let me know which ones you try after your next trip and how you feel by commenting below! Have other tips that have worked for you? Leave them below and I’ll consider adding them to the post!
Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.
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