How to Deal with Jet Lag so You Can Enjoy Your Honeymoon
In all the wedding excitement of dress fittings, centerpieces, and cake tastings, it’s easy to forget what happens after the wedding—the honeymoon. Far too many newlyweds find themselves nodding off when they should be basking in their wedded bliss. Hopping time zones may be romantic, but it also comes with jet lag. You can prepare in advance so you’re not left snoozing your way through your much anticipated one-on-one time.
Prep in Advance
Natural light sets the timing of your circadian rhythms, which controls your sleep cycle. However, if you move through several time zones in a day, light patterns change and the circadian rhythms struggle to keep up. The resulting drowsiness and fatigue are more than enough to interfere with your honeymoon.
Luckily, your circadian rhythms also respond to your personal habits, behaviors, and schedule, which means you can begin adjusting them before you leave. Start by moving your bedtime closer to that which you will follow while on your honeymoon in 15 to 30-minute increments. If you’re traveling far afield, you’ll need to begin incremental adjustments several days in advance.
Before you leave, take care of any loose ends so you’re not going over an endless checklist when you’re supposed to be relaxing. Put a hold on your mail, set your security system, and make arrangements for watering the plants or taking care of pets well in advance.
Use Your Travel Time Wisely
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or boat, you can use that travel time to your advantage.
Set Your Watch: As soon as you get onboard, set your watch to your destination time. It will help you mentally and physically prepare.
Nap...or Not: With your watch set to your destination time, you can decide how best to spend your travel time. If you’ll be arriving at your destination in the morning, sleep while you travel so you’re ready for a full day upon arrival. However, if it will be evening when you arrive, stay awake as long as possible so you can get a full night’s rest.
Hydrate: Drink, drink, drink water not alcohol because it can disrupt your sleep cycle. Dehydration leaves the body listless and fatigued, which won’t help when you’re trying to adjust your sleep cycle. Airplanes are known for causing dehydration so be sure to drink eight ounces of fluid for every hour you’re in flight.
Get Outside and Nap
Once you’ve arrived, head outside. The sooner your circadian rhythms can adjust to local time, the better. Take a walking tour, swim at the beach, or visit a few sites to soak up some sun and keep yourself awake during daylight hours.
Naps are your friend. However, a word of caution, you don’t want to sleep the day away. There’s nothing worse than waking up from a “nap” to find everything in the city is shut down and you’re wide awake. A 15 to 30-minute nap can help alleviate some of the fatigue of jet lag but not interfere with the start of your sleep cycle. Be sure to set an alarm, maybe two if you’re a heavy sleeper, to stay on track.
A vacation for two is exactly what you need after the stress of a wedding. It’s your chance to start your marriage off right. With the right preparation, you might feel a little jet lag but it won’t keep you from enjoying everything your destination has to offer. Even better, you’ll grow closer to your spouse so you can start your marriage off right.
Writer: Stacey L. Nash
Stacey is a Seattle area writer for Tuck.com whose insomnia led her to research all aspects of sleep. With a degree in communications from the University of Puget Sound, she helps put sleep into the forefront of the health and wellness conversation. When not researching and writing about sleep, she spends time with her husband and four children on their heavily-wooded, twelve-acre piece of heaven.