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Your Ultimate Guide for Beating Jet Lag

Traveling can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm.

Getting the opportunity to jet set across the globe is a privilege. It affords you the chance to see new places, interact with new cultures and try new foods. But,it can also ruin your wake-sleep cycle, leaving you feeling sluggish, irritable and out of sorts. Yes, we’re talking about good old fashioned jet lag. As an avid traveler—I’ve been to every continent, including Antarctica, at five months pregnant— I’ve learned some easy tricks to help you prevent or minimize the effects. Plus, I tapped some SI Swimsuit models who are always on the road to get their top tips. Here are the four key things to do to beat jet lag.

Stay Hydrated

Did you know air travel can cause a decrease in hydration levels and make jet lag worse? The simple act of flying dehydrates the body; if you consume drinks like alcohol, the dehydration will be even worse. However, when you focus on staying hydrated, you can adjust to the altitude easier and combat the naturally dry air on a plane. In fact, the No. 1 thing 2022 SI Swimsuit rookie Katie Austin does when traveling is drink a glass of water for each hour of the plane ride. Mady Dewy, the 2022 Swim Search winner, agrees with Austin. “I take my hydration more seriously and drink a ton of water on the plane,” she says.

Move Your Body

Sitting still for long periods on the plane or when you arrive at the destination is only going to make you feel more fatigued. So, slight movements like back twists, toe lifts, leg stretches and walking the aisles while flying keep blood flowing. These movements can quickly energize you to keep your body in an active state. The same is true for when you land (especially if it’s daytime). Go for a walk in your new destination or do five minutes of yoga to reset your body.

“I always like to get in some light movement when I first arrive, especially after sitting on a plane for hours,” says fitness expert Austin. “You could go for a little walk and start exploring your destination!”

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Control Sun Exposure

If you are switching time zones, one of the most natural ways to quickly reset your body clock is to control your sun exposure. The dark and light signal your body when to sleep and wake. So even if it’s the middle of the night at home, go for a walk in the daylight to adjust to the new, local time no matter how tired you are.

“When you arrive at your destination, don’t think about the time back home,” says Austin. “If it’s daytime when you get there, try to stay outside and keep yourself moving because the best way to help your body’s clock adjust is to get exposure to sunshine."

SI Swimsuit model Brooks Nader does something similar, forcing herself to sleep on a night flight. “The second I get on a plane, I get on the time zone I’m heading towards,” Nader says. “If I get on the plane at JFK at 6 p.m. and I’m headed to Paris, I’ll take my melatonin and go straight to sleep since it’s midnight in France. That way, I’m fresh and on Paris time when I wake up.”

Plan Ahead

Lastly, if you know a trip is coming up, you can slowly start to adjust your circadian rhythm to avoid jet lag. For example, Dewy and Austin adjust their sleep habits a few days before departure to match the new time zone. “I’ve found that making slight adjustments a few days before travel makes all of the difference,” says Dewy. “I align my sleep schedule according to my destination’s time zone, so I am more in sync when I arrive. I’ve even adjusted my phone time zone to begin tricking my brain.”