We all know how it goes with jet lag. You’re somewhere new and exciting, somewhere worth all of the hours and stress of traveling…and you’re exhausted. Or perhaps you’ve finally arrived home after a long vacation and instead of being able to dive back into your real life, your energy is sapped by fatigue or dehydration. And, with the busiest holiday travel time of the year fast-approaching…need we say more?
Jet lag can take its toll on our bodies, minds and spirits in our fast-paced, travel-happy world, but luckily we’re here to help! In fact, with some forethought, a specialized spa treatment or two and the advice of knowledgeable—and sympathetic—experts, these tips will help you beat jet lag, and beat it to a pulp.
1. Sleep Well
Most of us know that getting our “beauty sleep” is essential for feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning (do I sound like your grandma?), but quality sleep is also crucial for recovering from jet lag. Avoid the sluggishness and irritability and ask about early check-in and late check-out at your hotel. Many establishments have “quiet zone” floors and other sleep amenities (think movie star eye masks and thick shades), and with a little melatonin, the relaxing and recovery can begin. “Frankincense and sandalwood capsules can also help aid insomnia and ensure that you have a good night’s rest when you reach your final destination,” says Blanca Albor, spa director, Acqualina Resort & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida.
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas offers Stay Well rooms, which feature dawn simulator alarm clocks, a vitamin C shower infusion (yes, you read that correctly), indoor air purification systems and other services for treating travel weariness.
Photo of the King Stay Well room at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
2. Feed Your Body & Your Skin
What goes into your body is obviously an important element in how you feel, so when fighting jet lag choose nutrient-rich foods and drinks to help your body recover. Protein-rich food can often give you that extra kick you need to feel better, and concocting your own special “anti-jet lag juice” is helpful. Try some combination of kale, carrots, apples and pumpkin seeds—universally considered excellent jet lag fighters—for a super juice! Rachel Lozina, owner of Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay, New York, also encourages travelers to try Sprayology, particularly Rejuvenation Plus, a spray that refreshes and invigorates the body while sprucing up parched-looking skin.
Massage is one of the best ways to unwind after a long trip, and many spas offer jet lag-centric massage services. The Spa & Salon at Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas offers the Jet lag Relief Massage where citrus blended oil is massaged into the scalp, back and neck, and peppermint lotion is used to encourage circulation in the hands, feet and throughout the body. Other services available at spas target parts of the body that retain fluids, and work on eliminating muscle tension and improving joint mobility—essential when it comes to stiff, post-flight bodies! Other spas may offer types of “water massage” like watsu, a massage performed in a warm, shallow pool that allows the therapist to work on your entire body while you happily float in water. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?
Photo courtesy of Blue Water Spa
Hydration should be your top priority when dealing with jet lag, both Lozina and Shannon Mariani, director of recreational services at The Spa & Salon at Vdara Hotel & Spa, agree. This means drinking tons of water (surprise, surprise), electrolyte-containing drinks and coconut water. During your flight, try imbibing in tomato juice instead of those martinis—a surefire way to guarantee that you’ll feel better (contrary to what some travelers may think!). Also while on the flight, avoid those salty snacks; though the chips may look mighty tempting, the sodium will only add to your dehydration.
You can also visit a spa to pick up a hydration gel and facial mist, or try hydrotherapy, a process that combines heat, buoyancy and massage to help soothe the body.
5. Adjust your Internal Clock
It’s also important to get your internal clock on track for your destination (or after you arrive back home). Try these three tips:
• Weeks before your trip, begin adjusting your schedule depending on the time zone you’re heading for—this will give your body time to adjust little by little to your future destination.
• Once you’ve boarded the plane, try to just snack lightly until you can get on track with whatever the normal mealtime is wherever you’re going.
• Sleep on the plane if it’s nighttime at your destination, but try your best to stay awake if it’s daytime.
6. Good Ol’ O2
It’s no secret that oxygen is essential to skin and wellbeing (obviously), which is why oxygen facials continue to increase in popularity. Oxygen is imperative to jet lag relief, and many spas offer facials with blasts of vitamin-infused oxygen — a fantastic way to get a quick and refreshing dose of relief for your tired and well-traveled skin.
Aromatherapy can also ease that dreaded jet lag, and many spas offer a variety of aromatic herbal wraps. Popular ones for treating travel exhaustion include Warm, lavender-scented sheet wraps aimed at releasing impurities and aiding relaxation. Spa & Salon Vdara offers a Naturopathica Massage with an energizing blend of lemongrass and ginger to help with the senses.
If you don’t have time for the spa, an at-home DIY alternative is always a fragrant bath (ESPA’s soothing bath oil comes highly recommended from Albor of Acqualina Resort & Spa). You can also try using a drop of geranium oil, lavender or lemongrass before traveling, and after you’ve arrived, use drops of chamomile, geranium and lavender oils for a few days.
8. Acupressure & Acupuncture
Instead of waiting to treat jet lag after it has already hit, you should also think about ways to prepare beforehand. Lozina recommends acupressure and acupuncture before you travel. She specifically likes “ear seeds,” stainless steel beads or seeds from the Vaccaria plant, which are taped to acupressure points on the ear, and can help with feelings of anxiety prior to traveling and jet lag symptoms after you’ve reached your destination.
9. Relax, Stress Less & Hydrate
Remember to focus on hydrating in the days leading up to your trip, an often fluid-zapping experience. And above all, remember to relax. Even Mariani from Spa & Salon Vdara says one of the best ways to prepare for a trip (and possible jet lag) is to relax, listen to your body and try to remain as stress-free as possible. Spa Vdara’s meditation room, pictured, looks like a great place to rest before or after a flight!
Photo courtesy of Spa Vdara
10. Get Moving
Though jet lag often makes many of us want to just curl in a ball and spend the day basking in the soft glow of the television, exercise is what your body really needs. Many spas offer yoga classes or swimming pools where travelers can unwind. Fitness experts can also recommend other stretches and exercises to help promote circulation. Lozina also encourages weary travelers to power-walk — what better way to explore the new city you’ve arrived in? Plus, the exposure to sunlight, a.k.a. vitamin D, is ideal for treating jet lag. And don’t forget that exercise helps with insomnia and fatigue as well!
Research package deals that include something to do with jet lag and you’re bound to stumble upon new and exciting treatments. Blue Water Spa has a special Jet Lag Renewal Treatment that comes in three parts: a cinnamon vanilla brown sugar scrub that buffs away dry skin, an hour-long massage with lemon espresso oil and a facial with a hydrating collagen mask finished off with a spray of oxygen.
In our bustling world, we know that there are tons of options out there – start searching for spas near your destination here, and for spas with jet lag treatments, type your zip code in here. SpaFinder Wellness Gift Certificates can be used for any of these treatments – plus, don’t miss out on our Friends & Family sale (enter code: Holiday30 and save 30% on your second gift card, restrictions apply). Bon Voyage!