Beating jet lag is key to a great business trip. Jet lag can cause havoc to your energy levels -- and between back-to-back meetings and lengthy dinners with clients, business trips can be exhausting enough already. Even the most experienced travellers can feel the effects of fatigue, from foggy thinking to sour moods.
However, business trips don’t need to sap your energy. In fact, all you need are a few simple tweaks to your routine to make a big impact on your stamina and cope with the jet lag. Below, find six tips to help you maintain your energy, stay refreshed, and feel focused on the road.
1. Beat jet lag
Jet lag is caused by travelling across time zones which in turn disrupts your circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles. In addition to the sleep hygiene tips below, make sure to allow plenty of sunshine to reach your eyes in the morning. This sends a signal to the body’s internal clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which helps to reset your circadian rhythm. Another trick to conquering jet lag is to make sure you don't nap for longer than 30 minutes during the day, as tempting as it may be.
2. Catch enough zzz’s
It's crucial to get enough sleep when you’re traveling for work — which begins even before you pack your bags. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule in the days leading up to your trip by going to sleep and waking up at around the same time.
On your trip, set yourself up for a successful night’s sleep by following proper sleep hygiene. Make your hotel room as dark as possible, or consider wearing a sleep mask (light signals to our brain to stay awake). White noise, either from a fan or an app, can also help you drift off more easily, as can relaxing scents such as lavender essential oils. Finally, some music services like Spotify provide pre-made playlists full of soothing tracks intended to help you wind down at night after a busy day.
3. Eat for energy
Airports are notorious for offering not-so-healthy food selections, from greasy fast food to sugary snacks. To avoid the temptations that abound while travelling, it’s wise to pack your own snacks ahead of time or make smarter selections on the go. Aim for a filling combination of protein, fibre, and healthy fats at each meal and snack during your trip. Examples could be a piece of fruit with a stick of cheese, or a sandwich on whole-grain bread with turkey, hummus, and avocado.
Also, if you’re purchasing pre-packaged snacks, check the nutrition label to ensure you’re not eating too much sugar, which can cause an energy crash later on. A good rule of thumb is to pick foods that have less than six grams of added sugar.
4. Power down if possible
Naps don’t have to be just for kids. See if you can sneak a rest period into your busy schedule when you can put your phone away and simply relax for a few minutes. Try to fit in a power nap! Research shows that taking a brief nap (20 to 30 minutes) can boost short-term alertness and enhance performance, without grogginess.
5. Stay hydrated
Humans are made up of 55 to 75 percent water, making it an essential element of our overall health and well-being. As a result, dehydration can lead to fatigue and impact our cognitive function as well as our mood -- neither of which is beneficial when you’re in back-to-back business meetings. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of H20 during your trip; the NHS recommends six to eight glasses of water per day.
6. Get moving
While it may sound counterproductive, taking a short exercise break on your trip can help improve your energy and your mood. Studies show that engaging in physical activity can boost your energy levels and vigour during mentally demanding work. If you feel your energy dip, do some stretches at your desk, or go for a 10-minute walk in the fresh air — it’s also a nice way to explore your new surroundings!
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