Author: Samantha (Sam) Kent
The wedding’s over, and you’re ready to enjoy some relaxing time with your sweetheart. But, guess what? If you’re traveling far enough, both of you might be struggling to not only stay awake but enjoy the special time together. Don’t worry! You can beat jet lag with a little pre-honeymoon prep and some savvy traveling tips.
1. Shift Your Sleep Schedule Before the Trip
With all the pre-wedding jitters, you might not be thinking about when you’re going to sleep. Take a deep breath and think about how you’d like to spend your time while on your honeymoon. If you don’t want to be passed out on the bed or awake staring out the window at 2 am, start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days in advance. Depending on where you’re going, that might mean waking up and going to bed an hour earlier than usual. For destinations with significant time differences, adjust your bedtime a half-hour or hour more each day until your honeymoon.
2. Change Your Meal Times Before the Trip
This one goes hand in hand with shifting your sleep schedule. When you eat your meals actually changes when your body begins to feel fatigued. Eating your meals an hour or two earlier than usual can help shift your body’s circadian rhythms, which control your sleep-wake cycle. This technique works best when you eat healthy, balanced meals.
3. Stay Hydrated
After #1, this one seems simple. Traveling tends to dry out the skin and body. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and flat. You don’t want that for your wedding or honeymoon. Make an effort to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go pre-honeymoon. Hydration might not prevent jet lag, but it certainly reduces its effects.
4. Sleep on the Plane (Train or Automobile if not driving!)
Sleep while you travel. This tactic works best for destinations with the opposite time zone as your home location. Though you may not get as much rest as you would normally, if you’re stepping off the plane first thing in the morning while everyone at home is heading to bed, you’ll be glad you got a little sleep. It will give you the energy you need to start adjusting to the local time.
5. Resist the Urge to Nap
As much as you might want to lay down for a short nap, you should resist the urge. Try to stay awake until your bedtime in the new time zone. If you start this on the first day, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to adjust. You and your spouse can help to keep each other awake. When you start to feel drowsy, try taking a walk, enjoy the sights, or simply head outside for some sunshine, which can help adjust your sleep cycle.
6. Get a Little Help
There are lots of supplements available to help you stay awake or sleep, but something as simple as melatonin can help you sleep when it’s time. Caffeine temporarily blocks sleep-inducing hormones so it might help you for a short time but be aware that it can also cause dehydration. Remember #3? If you do grab a soda to stay awake, you should drink a glass of water too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samantha (Sam) Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.