This Super-simple Travel Hack Might Reduce Jet Lag the Next Time You Fly

Leave jet lag in the past with this easy trick.

Though getting to travel is certainly a gift, jet lag is likely an aspect everyone can live without. Luckily, there are a few hacks travelers swear by to beat jet lag that you can try too, including two that will leave you either totally refreshed or absolutely relaxed. 

First, what is jet lag? According to the Mayo Clinic, jet lag "is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across several time zones." It explained, by traveling through time zones on a long-haul flight, your body's circadian rhythm is thrown out of whack, keeping you awake when you wish to be asleep and tired when you need to be awake. 

Water running from shower head in a bathroom with a tile wall behind

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And it's not just an inconvenience. Mayo Clinic added, "jet lag can cause daytime fatigue, an unwell feeling, trouble staying alert, and stomach problems." Don't worry too much, as these symptoms will go away after a few days, but even a few days can wreak havoc on your travel plans. So here's a super-easy travel hack to try next time you fly: Take a cold shower or a hot bath, depending on the time of day. 

As WebMD explained, hopping in a cold shower can provide several benefits, including increasing your circulation, which provides a quick energy boost if you arrive early in the morning and need to stay awake the rest of the day. A cold shower could also help your mood. WebMD added, "Cold water stimulates the production of noradrenaline and beta-endorphins. Electrical impulses are sent from our nerve endings to our brain when we take cold showers, and this chemical reaction may have an antidepressant effect on some individuals." 

However, exercise physiologist Zach Carter shared with The Cleveland Clinic that you can likely get the same benefits without taking the plunge. "Go for a 10-minute walk instead," he said about the matter. "You'll be better off."

Arriving at night? It's an ideal time to take a warm bath, which WebMD shared can help both your body and mind unwind. It added, "getting clean before crawling under the cover will reduce the buildup of germs, dirt, sweat, and body oils that can accumulate on your bedding over time," or, those you've accumulated on a long-haul flight. 

Furthermore, studies show taking a warm bath can help us breathe more deeply, soothe muscle aches, and can even make us happier. And, there's plenty of science that shows taking a bath close to bedtime can improve the quality of your sleep.  

Of course, these are far from the only things you can do to try to fight jet lag. As Travel + Leisure previously noted, medical experts at the Mayo Clinic have a few helpful tips to test. For example, they suggest tricking your body's circadian rhythm to match your new time zone. If you're traveling west, expose yourself to light in the evening prior to your trip to help your body adjust to a later time zone; if you're traveling east, expose yourself to light early in the morning to adapt to an earlier zone. And, the experts added, only sleep if your flight is at night, but "if it's daytime where you're going, resist the urge to sleep" either way.

And, as Carter noted, taking a walk is a tried and true way to stop jet lag in its tracks, as is ensuring you're properly hydrated before, during, and after a flight. But really, a nice warm bath after a flight sounds like the right move, even if it's just a quick trip. 

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