Ask most frequent business travellers about the unglamorous side of their lifestyles, and they will invariably tell you that jet lag is one of the most debilitating side effects of being up in the air a number of times a month, every month, year after year! The negative results of jet lag when travelling extensively for business are both physical and mental.

Here are five ways to help manage the effects of jet lag.

Get some shut-eye before you fly. Try to get at least two good nights’ rest before take-off. Sleep to your mental and physical state is like a charger to a cell phone. This is especially true when preparing your body and mind to adjust to your destination’s time zone.

Zone in on your destination’s time. You’re up and away. Now’s the time to move your mind to your destination’s time zone. If it’s daytime at your destination, watch an in-flight movie, read a book, or do some work. In other words, stay awake!

If it’s night-time at your destination, cover yourself with a blanket, insert earplugs, close your eyes and sleep as much as possible before arrival.

Avoid over-eating (and drinking). Over-full stomachs are uncomfortable stomachs; never a good idea when you’re in a confined space 30 thousand feet in the air. So choose smaller portions of food that are easy to digest.

If you’re fortunate enough to be flying business class, ask for a small plate rather than the main course. You can always request a smaller second plate later on. And hydrate by drinking plenty of water, particularly if you’re also consuming alcohol. Too much alcohol leads to fragmented sleep and grogginess when you wake up.

Use stopovers to get going! If your international flight has a stopover at a major hub airport, refresh yourself by taking a shower at the arrivals lounge. Maybe after a light snack at one of the food outlets, you still have an extra hour or two before again boarding the aircraft. If so, why not stretch your legs and stimulate your mind with a walk around the airport?

To be your best, rest!

First impressions count! Avoid rushing to your first meeting an hour or two after arriving at your destination. In the context of doing business in foreign environments, there are few things worse than your body trying desperately to adjust, thinking it’s still the middle of the night, but you’re actually in the middle of a deal-breaking meeting.

If at all possible, give your body and mind at least one-half to three-quarters of a day to rest before you do anything important.

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