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How to Avoid Jet Lag when landing in Iceland

Let’s state the obvious: jet lag is REAL. and it sucks. No one I know wants to go on vacation and be completely out of it the whole first day.

Iceland can be especially rough for jet lag if you aren’t careful. Most of the flights land super early in the morning, confusing your brain and messing with your normal sleep cycle. It’s the worst if you’re flying West to East.

If you’re anything like us, the 5-6 hour time zone change is a pretty big jump. That means a) landing at 6am is bad enough, who likes to wake up that early anyway?! and b) it is now 1am where you came from and you are usually entering your first cycle of REM sleep.

Upon arrival, you quickly make your way through the Keflavik airport. You will see a glorious coffee shop waiting to fuel you up with all the caffeine you can imagine. “Give me the biggest coffee you have!” you say, knowing it’s not going to make a dent in how exhausted you feel.

The next thing you do is step outside into the purest air in the world, (aka cold with a side of wind) that smacks you in the face. THIS is the true Iceland! Your number one thought is very likely “omg I’m so tired, I just want to crawl into a nice warm bed as soon as we get to our hotel” (I know because that was me!)

But you are in luck because I have rounded up the BEST tried and true jet lag cures! There’s no time for sleep, too much exploring to do, my friend!

Eat

  • Before you take off, limit greasy/heavy foods. The best thing to eat is a meal high in protein and veggies, which will keep your blood sugar stable and give you the most nutrition throughout your long day of travel.
  • No sugar! Sugar weakens your immune system and spikes your insulin, both bad news for flying and jumping time zones.

Pro tip: I always bring an emergency snack pack in case I’m hungry or can’t find healthy food options. This includes protein bars, beef jerky, nut butter, and even fresh veggies!

Drink

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Like, over hydrate. As in you are irritated because you have to get up so often to go to the bathroom. Flying dehydrates the body, so you have to drink even more water than you are used to!
  • Limit caffeine, especially before you leave so you will be able to catch some zzz’s during the flight. (HOWEVER, do yourself a giant favor and make sure to get a coffee at every chance after you arrive. I swear, Iceland knows how to brew coffee!)
  • No alcohol – another way to dehydrate the body, and also messes with your sleep. Save the celebratory drinks for when you arrive.

Sleep

  • Sleep as much as you can on the plane. I don’t recommend sleeping pills, especially if you’ve never used them before. It will only mess with your regular sleep cycle even more, and make you drowsy at your destination.
  • I NEVER travel without an eye mask, earplugs, and neck pillow. I look ridiculous on the plane, but it works! It helps minimize distractions and I am soooo comfortable. I also like to use lavender oil before bed, which is a calming scent.
  • NO napping when you arrive. (This is the MOST important part!) I know it can be tempting to try to “catch up” with a quick nap, but it will confuse your body even more. Instead, start exploring and get to bed early that night. Trust me.
READ MORE:   The Best Festivals and Music Events in Iceland

Wear

  • My number one rule for traveling is to be comfortable. I might look like a homeless person at the airport, but I don’t care. I’m not trying to sit on a plane for several hours worrying about my outfit or how I can’t wait to take off my shoes.
  • Dress in layers. Take clothes on or off depending on the temperature on the plane. I also like to use big sweaters or scarves as a pillow or blanket!

Electronics

  • You know that the artificial light messes with your sleep/wake cycle right? Limit screen time before and during your flight.

Get Outside

  • I’m not kidding when I say Iceland has the best air! I notice it every time we come back from being abroad. Getting outside in the fresh Icelandic air is probably the BEST jet lag cure ever, especially if you can pair it with some hiking!
  • If you are visiting in the darker months (November-February) daylight is significantly limited. But getting outside will still give you the benefit of fresh air.

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Vitamins

  • The best immune boosting vitamins are Vitamin D, Zinc, and Fish oil. A great immune boosting supplement is Echinacea if you are traveling during cold and flu season! I also like to take this complex when we land, which is naturally energizing.
  • Which leads me to…my secret weapon!

Secret weapon

  • No Jet Lag. Natural homeopathic remedy that helps relieve the symptoms of long-distance travel across time zones. One pack comes with 32 tablets and it is advised to take 1 dose every two hours, before and during the flight to combat fatigue. I’m serious you guys, this stuff is magic! So simple, yet so effective. And it’s cheap! Make sure to grab some before your next trip.

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Now you’re ready to tackle your new destination without being tired! Whether you are landing in Iceland, or somewhere else abroad, these tips will have you out exploring your new city in no time!

Happy planning!

 

 

 

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15 Guaranteed Ways to Avoid Jet Lag - Life With a View (1)

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  • Cynthia
    May 13, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Interesting post! I think the WORST jet lag I’ve had in my life was five years ago, going from PST to Iceland. (why is that?!) I spent the entire week I was there half in a daze (but I did really get to know many of Reykjavik’s coffee shops, haha).
    On more recent trans-Atlantic flights, I’ve had loads of luck following all of the rules you’ve mentioned but I do break one only if I arrive in the morning: I take a big nap! :)) After 21 hrs of travel, I find that a max. 4 hr nap (I knoooow) totally re-energizes and gets me to a normal bedtime for that location. I’ve tried not napping after a red-eye and it simply results in me falling asleep on top of a red double-decker bus tour (or similar), hah.

    • Jeannie
      May 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Taking a nap with early arrivals is definitely controversial. I’ve done it both ways, but I always find I’m more groggy if I wake up from a few hour “nap” rather than just pushing through the day. To each his own though!

  • Emily
    May 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I’m really curious about “No Jet Lag”…being that you take it during the flight, does it keep you awake at all or have anything in it that makes you sleep? Or will it just help you out hours later when you land and do want to be awake?

    • Jeannie
      May 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Good question Emily, the ingredients are calming, so it doesn’t keep you awake or put you you to sleep. The manufacturer says “Helps alleviate body stress and Corrects disruptions to the body’s clock rhythym”. It helped me a lot to transition time zones, so I’m a believer!

  • Patience
    May 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I’ll be on a 05:00 WOW airlines arrival in Reykjavik in September. (Departing from Washington, DC.) I’m pleased that WOW doesn’t offer meals or in-flight entertainment because both of those serve as distractions. I’m planning to read a soothing book and hopefully, fall asleep soon after we take off.

    • Jeannie
      May 21, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Good point, Patience! You are smart already thinking ahead about this. It helps so much! Hope you have a great time in Iceland 🙂

  • Rachel
    May 16, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Totally agree with all of these! Hydrating and no caffeine is big for me. Plus, I’m always so excited already so I don’t need any more to pump me up, haha!

    • Jeannie
      May 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Hydrating is so key! I hear ya about being pumped for the trip, yay traveling!