Your wedding is over, and you finally get to spend some quiet time with your favorite person! Your honeymoon is a gift to you and your new spouse, and you want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. However, more than one couple has found themselves sleeping the day away and wide awake in the middle of the night due to jet lag. But, you can get ahead of jet lag before you step on the airplane. With a good planning, you can be well on your way to enjoying the alone time the two of you have needed for months.
Long trips cause the circadian system, which controls your sleep-wake cycle amongst other things, to become misaligned. The results are concentration problems, mood changes, and excessive daytime sleepiness. The good news is you don’t have to fall victim to this ailment. A few simple changes before you leave and upon arrival can help you stay mentally clear, awake, and ready to enjoy everything your destination has to offer.
1. Start by adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before you leave. Move both your bedtime and your wake-up time 15 to 30 minutes closer to the time schedule you will follow on your honeymoon. Make sure to eliminate as many distractions as possible. That means a comfortable mattress kept in a cool, dark, quiet room to get high-quality sleep. While you might not be exactly on schedule upon arrival, it will get your circadian rhythms closer to your destination’s time.
2. You can also help your circadian system by adjusting your meal times in the same way. Eat everything from breakfast to dinner and everything in between 15 to 30 minutes closer to when you’ll be eating on your honeymoon. The further away from home you travel the farther out you’ll need to start making these adjustments so plan accordingly.
3. Once you’re on the plane, play it smart. Try to stay well hydrated. Dehydration does not contribute to jet lag, but it can make you feel more tired and fatigued, which will only make jet lag symptoms worse. You’ll help yourself out by drinking at least eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. If you’ll be arriving at your destination in the morning, sleep on your flight so you’ll be well rested when you arrive. Once you arrive, try to stay awake the whole first day to get your system on track.
4. At your destination, get outside for some sunshine. Exposure to natural light aligns your sleep-wake cycle. Take a walk on the beach or tour the local historical sites with your spouse but get as much bright light as you can. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor excursions, head to places with bright indoor lights for similar results.
5. While it’s best to avoid napping, if you’re both dragging, a short nap can help keep you going without interfering with your nighttime schedule. A solid 15 to 45 minutes is enough to counteract sleep deprivation. However, you might want to set more than one alarm to make sure you don’t sleep the day away.
Don’t worry, with the right preparation, your honeymoon can be the dream vacation you both need after the stress of wedding planning.
This article was written by Sam Kent at Sleep Help