As you are packing for your cruise, there might be a few items that you are overlooking if your trip requires a long flight to your departure port. When flying across multiple time zones to meet your ship, jet lag is a very real possibility. But there are a few tips and tricks which can help to minimize the impact that this necessary evil has on your vacation plans.
Understanding Jet Lag
Jet lag is actually a short-term sleep disorder which occurs when you fly across several time zones. This process confuses your body and disrupts your circadian rhythm, which is normally regulated by the sun and the moon. This internal confusion can result in feeling unusually fatigued, insomnia and even anxiety, nausea and dehydration as your body tries to adjust to the irregular schedule. But even before your trip begins, there are ways to help lessen the effect that jet lag will have on your body.
Prior to Departure
It is very helpful to try to adjust your sleep pattern toward your new time zone prior to leaving home. If you are flying east, then try to adjust your bedtime a bit earlier to lessen the shock to your system after your flight. If you are traveling west then adjust your bedtime to a bit later. It is also important to remain well hydrated prior to your trip.
On Your Day of Travel
Booking a red-eye is always a good consideration if you can rest or sleep while flying. If this is your intention, then pay careful attention to your seat selection. Seats near the galley or the bathroom tend to have more traffic making it more difficult to sleep. In addition, the last row of seats does not always recline which can also make it difficult to nap. Regardless of the time of your flight, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as both can increase dehydration and alter your sleep pattern.
Even an evening or night flight can be noisy and full of activity. To ensure that you can create a peaceful cocoon, earplugs and an eye mask are always helpful. Noise-canceling headphones are also a very valuable addition to your carry-on bag. Listening to soft music can be very relaxing and will help to eliminate the noise of nearby passengers. Headphones are also a good way to deter chatty seatmates who might not be interested in sleeping. If you tend to get chilled easily, add a sweater or sweatshirt to your carry-on bag to ensure that you do not wake up cold and overly sore from being seated for a long period of time.
After Your Flight
Hopefully, you were able to rest during your flight. But in case you do not leave the plane feeling rejuvenated or at least semi-rested, follow these few tips. Resist the desire to use caffeine for a burst of energy but do drink plenty of water to remain well hydrated. Also, try to avoid taking a nap once you are on board your ship. Spend the day being moderately active and try to remain awake until a somewhat normal bedtime. This will help to regulate your schedule and let your body adapt more quickly.
When planning a cruise which requires a long flight to reach the port of departure, it is always a good idea to plan on using the first day of your cruise to get acclimated and catch up on your rest. Begin booking activities, excursions, and classes for day two and beyond to get the most enjoyment out of each event and your entire cruise.