Oy! What a week! Between traveling back from Australia at the end of last week (an ordeal that took over 50+ hours of traveling due to nasty weather) and getting caught up on work and sleep this week, I think I hit a pretty hard wall. That wall is the lovely cold I now have, congestion and headaches and all -- the complete works.
Of course, I'm pretty guilty of trying to "soldier" through things, even when my body is clearly telling me no, which is largely why I think I have this darn cold in the first place. I clocked little to no normal sleep patterns while we were in Australia (my own fault -- I was optimizing for New York time for emails, for social media management, etc.) and during the day, was pretty much caffeinating my way through, as we drove from beautiful location to beautiful location (don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining, just recognizing the fact I have a hard time 'relaxing,' even while on vacation).
I plan on writing a longer, reflection post about this latter issue of mine -- that being the inability to just CHILL sometimes (perhaps you suffer from it too?) -- but in the meantime, I wanted to focus today's post on how I've been tackling my jet lag and head cold. True to form, I've been taking this "downtime" opportunity to at least get somewhat caught up on email as well as reading through your responses from Monday's reader survey (a huge thank you to everyone who has filled it out so far, by the way!).
But I've accumulated a handful of tricks over the years that have helped immensely when it comes to forcing yourself to readjust your inner time zone. They say it takes your body roughly a day for each time zone crossed to recover from jet lag. Given that Melbourne is a full 16 hours ahead of New York, I have my work cut out for me this time. I've left out the most obvious ones, like coming home to an extremely comfortable mattress to allow deep sleep, and focused on the more niche tricks I like to use. If you know that your mattress isn't right for you then you're already losing the battle over jetlag so head over to bestmattress brand to find a better option.
So, in no particular order, I give you my 5 tips for kicking jet lag, from binaural beats to melatonin. And yes, you may worry, can you overdose on melatonin and other questions, but if you have any worries you can always do some more research. And, of course, I'd love to hear what's helped you guys with your jet lag! Share in the comments below!
Natural sleep aid
1. Nightly dose of Melatonin-3
I'm not a big fan of taking sleeping pills during flights or after I return home, mainly because I hate how unnaturally drowsy they make me. It makes me worry. Of course, everyone has different tolerance levels and after my jaunt to Japan, I decided to test out how Melatonin worked on me. The result? I couldn't have been happier. I usually bring along Melatonin for both flights, trying to time my 'sleep' time to be in sync with that of the local time where I'm landing. Once I return back home, I'll take a dose about an hour before bed -- in the instance of this week, I've been feeling wide awake come 11pm -- with a cup of chamomile tea. It slowly helps me wind down and gives that natural heavy eye-lid flutter when you're just about to drift off.
2. Binaural beats before bed
This one is a new-to-me trick, thanks to my boyfriend, who has recently been stepping up his meditation game. I fully admit, I've never been someone whose been able to meditate or heck, even sit still with a few minutes of silence in their brain, but it doesn't stop me from trying. Especially once I learned about binaural beats. What are binaural beats? This is where things get a bit nerdy -- but also SO COOL. Essentially, binaural beats are made by playing different sound frequencies to your left and right ears -- with your brain essentially interpreting the difference between the two as a completely new and third frequency. If this new frequency hovers in the 5 herz range, your brain, in theory, will enter a Theta state, which is suitable for REM. I've been listening to this soundtrack on Spotify a lot lately as I'm laying in bed, still restless from the day -- and I swear by it!
3. Deep sleep bath oil by This Works
Sometimes, there's no better medicine than a long bath. Especially a long bath with a healthy dose of lavender oil in it. I usually also put dabs of lavender oil directly on my pillow before going to sleep, but I find taking a bath (or a shower, if that's all I have time for) with some sort of essential oil, helps get the scent really coated onto my body, so I'm breathing it well before my head hits the pillow.
4. Uncommon Type: Some Stories
My biggest downfall when I'm jet lagged is the inability to fall asleep at a reasonable time. Either it's 6pm (oops!) or 2am (even bigger opps!). My routine this week has been to make it to at least 8pm each evening and start my night routine: bath, face mask, tea and melatonin and light reading. If you're like me, you might have gotten gifted a lot of books for Christmas. For this week and next though, I'm sticking to all my short story and essay compilation books, which I find help me feel just the right amount of focused and not overwhelmed. Short stories are a bit more digestible when you're already feeling exhausted and they require less backtracking as opposed to a novel counterpart. Why do you think we loved bedtime stories so much when we were little? Plus, who wouldn't love a little Tom Hanks prose before bed?
5. Get outside in the sun
Ah, but what about that afternoon slump? I dread the afternoon when I'm jet lagged -- it's the hardest time of day to really stay alert as you're coming down from whatever caffeine you might have allowed yourself that morning. I'll admit, I've had a few not so proud moments where I went to fold some clothes that were on my bed, only to find myself, 4 hours later, confused as to what happened. Generally speaking, when this happens, I try to force myself outside. For a walk around the neighborhood with Elvis or, better yet, a run if I can muster it. Exposure to sunlight, as you might have guessed, helps you adjust to the local timezone faster.