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How to Tackle Jet Lag Like a Pro

by Mikayla Monroe
Group of AIFS Abroad students in Ireland

For those of us hailing from Seattle, Washington and going on the AIFS pre-trip to London before heading to Maynooth, Ireland, we started our day at 3:36 PM in Seattle and ended up at 11:45 AM in London after about 11 hours of flying – it takes a minute to calculate all the time zone differences! Based on the duration of the flights alone, our body clocks were at 2:36 AM Seattle time upon arrival (15:36 departure time + 11 hours of flight). Basically, London and Ireland are 8 hours ahead of the West Coast of USA.

After successfully adjusting to an 8-hour time difference from Seattle, WA to Maynooth, Ireland, here are some tips to help you avoid feeling sluggish and behind the eight ball.

En Route to Destination:

Sleep If Possible

I know flying can be uncomfortable and it might be hard to fall asleep upright for some people, but do your best to catch a quick power nap if you’ll be arriving at your destination during the day. Storing your energy will help you hit the ground running once you land—maybe even literally. Regardless of whether you can get some shut-eye on a plane, get a good night’s sleep at home the night or two before your departure flight.

Drink Plenty of Water

During and after your flight, it’ll be important to stay hydrated so you can go-go-go and not be hurting from a dehydration headache. Whenever you get the chance to fill up your water bottle, do it! That gives you incentive to drink more water as well.

Adapting after Arrival:

Find a Buddy or Two and Get Moving!

Keep your body active to help stay awake during the day. This will also tire your body out and ease your mind asleep when the sun goes down. On our drive to the University College London after our flight, we all were exhausted regardless of our origins in the USA. Pushing myself to avoid taking a nap, I chose to walk to the British Museum with Kasey from my AIFS program. Walking around in the daylight is a great way to tell your body that this is what it should get used to for the next couple of weeks. Plus, attendance to the museum was free and we got to see a ton of fascinating historical artifacts!

How to Tackle Jet Lag like a Pro | AIFS Study Abroad
The British Museum

Check Your Watch—You’re not in Kansas Anymore, Baby!

Remember to adjust your phone and watch so that you aren’t trapped in your hometown’s time zone. To help your mind adjust as well as your body, check the time frequently to mentally and psychologically register that you’re in a different time zone. Think about what you would normally be doing at that time back home such as, “Okay, so it’s 6:30 PM and around this time I’d want to eat,” and start doing activities to help your mind and body get back into its regular routine.

Now go have your adventures!

This post giving jet lag tips to future study abroad students was contributed by Mikayla Monroe, who is spending her summer studying abroad with AIFS in Maynooth, Ireland.

How to Tackle Jet Lag like a Pro | AIFS Study Abroad

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