How you spend your first full day (Day 1) in your new destination plays a major role in minimizing the effects of jet lag.
If your flight arrives at night...
Go straight to your hotel or lodging.
Once there, turn off your light-emitting electronic devices--smartphone, laptop, etc. If possible, take a warm shower to relax your muscles. Then plunge the room into darkness.
Darkness triggers your brain to produce melatonin, a natural hormone that puts you in the mood for Zzzzz.
If your flight arrives in the morning...
Go straight to your hotel or lodging. If possible, check in early, shower and get settled in.
Eat a healthy, hearty meal; then follow the Day 1 tips below...
First, don't make any definite plans for Day 1. And refrain from doing anything strenuous. Instead, you should:
- Take it easy...to give your body time to recalibrate and power up; and
- Spend some quality time walking outdoors
Going for a leisurely stroll outdoors has a number of benefits. The exercise and fresh air will boost your energy level and help you sleep more soundly. Spending time in the sun with help your body adjust its sleep-wake clock more quickly.
Second, eat meals and snacks that are high in protein (a natural energy booster) and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
Third, stick to water and juice for the first full day or two. Once the jet lag subsides, you can enjoy local beer, coffee, wine and the like, to your heart's content—just be sure to drink plenty of water as well.
Fourth, when you feel sleepy, don't fight it. Go to sleep. Ideally, in a room that's dark and quiet.
I've followed all of these tips on recent, long-flight trips to amazing results.
By Day 2, I'm well-rested, jet lag free, and full of energy to do all of the amazing sightseeing and adventure activities on my Wander List, for the rest of my trip!