6 tips on how to beat Jet lag
Jet lag: the struggle is real
Being a professional athlete I have flown across the world, through multiple time zones only to have the life sucked out of me, jet lag becomes my energy absorbing black hole. In a matter of time I turn from an Olympic athlete with gazelle like reactions into a sloth that only wants to sleep. I’ve been travelling for many years and have developed a few tricks of my own, and borrowed from others such as Roland Schoeman on how to beat the sloth listed below
My top 3 Jet lag remedies:
Upon landing and checking into your hotel do some form of physical activity. I personally head straight to the hotel pool and swim for around 10 minutes. If there is no pool or hotel gym I’ll do a core routine in my room. Why? When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good and reboot your body.
2. Coffee naps
A coffee nap is when you intake coffee or any form of caffeine right before you take a short nap. Sounds irrational or even counter-intuitive right? we drink caffeine for alertness, not to sleep. On average, it takes the body 20min to digest caffeine and for it to start affecting the body and brain. When timed correctly I awake from my nap feeling turbo charged and ready to take on the rest of the day. See the video below on the science of coffee naps.
3. "I think, therefore I am"
One of the greatest things about being a professional athlete is being able to test the limits of one’s body and mind. When the going gets tough and everyone gives up, that’s only when the real work starts. According to the Navy Seals this is called the 40% rule. “The 40% rule is simple: When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done. The human mind is an amazing thing. It both propels us forward and holds us back. The 40% rule reminds us that no matter how exhausted we might feel, it is always possible to draw on an untapped reserve of energy, motivation, and drive that we all possess”. This can be applied to jet lag too. When one is tired and your sloth like behavior returns think about the 40% rule.
Roland is one of South Africas most decorated Olympic athletes. When I started my international career he was never shy to lend an ear to my many questions as a novice. What I admire most about Roland is his astonishing absolute attention to detail. Roland is arguably the best starter in world swimming and pioneered the catapult dive most sprinters use today. He like me applies Pareto’s Law in finding the small details that create the optimum result.
Establish a morning routine, the point of the morning routine is it allows your body to associate specific stimuli with a specific time of day. My routine looks like this: * Wake up and go into WimHof breathing exercises, I do a short yoga flow sequence and follow it with a cold shower for several minutes. Breakfast and then coffee. This is the only time of day i drink coffee (that in and of itself is a good indication for my body that it is morning)
Set your watch to your destinations time immediately when you climb on the plane. It's important to make your flight as comfortable as possible. I rely on my neck pillow, tennis ball and Bose QC35 headphones to help for a quiet and comfortable flight. Why the tennis ball. It's perfect to help release tight muscles in the legs, shoulders or back while you're sitting in your airplane seat.
Get into your morning routine as soon as you are able. an additional tool I use is sunlight. It's important to get sunlight (or bright light exposure) on your face in the morning of your destination, this helps adjust your circadian rhythms. Avoiding bright lights at night signals your body and circadian rhythms that its time to sleep. Grounding is another concept I've been investigating to help relieve jet lag. Tim Ferris has done some good research into the subject and I'm excited to try it out
So, if you are travelling for business or pleasure give these 6 simple remedies a try. Comment down below if you have any of your own nifty tricks we should add to our routine.