While you are considered to be ‘working’, travelling for work can be an incredible opportunity to experience another city in the world. It can be challenging, having to balance meetings and reports with client dinners and can become even more so if you are feeling the effects of jet lag.
Jet lag can not only have a profound effect on your sleep, it also negatively impacts on your levels of alertness and ability to focus, which is not an ideal state to be in when trying to get work done in a foreign country. When travelling, our circadian rhythms are slow and adjust to remain on their original biological schedule for some days after. This tells us to go to sleep in the middle of the afternoon or stay awake all night. This period of adjustment is often uncomfortable and its affects slow to wear off, but there are ways to reduce your chances of suffering with jet lag. Mentally getting prepared for a trip abroad is also half of the battle as you prepare early on for the experiences that await you.
Before you head off to a business trip in the USA, make sure you have secured a US Visa Waiver, more commonly referred to as the American ESTA. The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation makes visitors eligible to travel to the US under the USA Visa Waiver Program. Introduced in 2009, it is used to enhance security measures and pre-screen travellers before they can board a plane or ship headed for the US.
These are our top tips to keep jet lag at bay:
- Leave home with enough sleep
Ensuring you are well rested will make you better prepared for flying and for the duration of the trip. Planning everything you need to organise at least two days in advance relieves the stress of packing and makes the whole travel process feel less hectic.
- Rest on the flight
In flight movies and catching up on your reading are one way to pass the time, but don’t let them distract you from a much needed nap. You will feel much more refreshed when you land.
- Adjust your watch
When the pilot announced the time in the country you are flying to, be sure to adjust your watch. It is thought that jet lag is prolonged when you constantly think and refer back to UK time. If you are in the USA, be in the USA. If you are in Europe, be in Europe.
- Stay awake until early local bedtime
Plan an activity for the early evening on the day or day after you arrive. Jet lag is not a fan of exercise, fresh air and daylight so try to stay awake by doing either one of those things. Force your body into transitioning to local time- its cruel to be kind!
- Pharmaceutical cures
Sometimes a little helping hand can be just what you need for you to make the most of your business trip. Ambien (or zolpidem) is considered to be useful when transitioning to local time.