I land in a new country, my eager heart beating fast, hands full with luggage, phone battery almost empty with the relentless Snapchatting and Instagramming, and then, slowly but surely, my excitement gets bogged down by sleepiness, brain fog, disorientation and upset an upset stomach.
The only existing bone of contention between me and my travel goals is jet lag.
But just like the other roadblocks that I've conquered (and am still trying to), I have found us a solution to this one as well.
I've been shuffling between these 5 apps and they've proved super useful
Calm is a soothing app for sleep and relaxation that offers a range of guided meditations and a special selection of sleep stories.
You can choose natural soundtracks and white-noise such as the sound of falling rain or the wind in the trees. They have specially created sleep music tracks and sleep soundscapes (such as ocean waves, wind whooshes) to lull you to sleep in minutes.
Other free white-noise and meditation apps include myNoise, Relax Melodies (which allow you to create your own mix of sounds like the wind and rain)
2. Jet Lag Rooster
This is a combination of an app based on research about the effect of light on jet lag, with a supporting website.
With a few clicks, the site will create a personalised jet lag plan, hour-by-hour, including when to use the sleep-aid melatonin.(Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. As a supplement, it is often used for the short-term treatment of troubled sleeping such as from jet lag or shift work.)
Shifting your body clock before departing can sometimes prevent jet lag completely.
Cost: Free on iTunes and Google Play. Website link here.
Similar to Jet Lag Rooster, Entrain suggests a personalised schedule to help adjust your body clock to the time zone at your destination.
Created by students at the University of Michigan, you enter your flight information, and get suggestions for when to sleep, on light exposure, and when to rest in total darkness to help the brain adapt. You can also volunteer your data to be used in future jet lag studies.
4. The Jet Lag App by Timeshifter
This app calculates in a way similar to Entrain and Jet Lag Rooster, but it will ask for some additional information and provide a more detailed and personalised schedule.
It takes into account your sleep pattern, itinerary, and a range of personal preferences. It will also tell you when to have caffeine or take a nap, and send reminders to stay awake.
The plans are customised for business travellers, athletes, backpackers etc. And obviously, since it provides the most minuscule details, the services are paid.
Discounted jet lag plan - $4.99 ( Rs 350)
Jet lag plan - $9.99 (Rs 692)
Timeshifter - $24.99 (Rs 1731)
Exposure to natural light and getting used to a different time zone are essential to combat jet lag. Artificial light, however, especially the blue glow coming from laptops and smartphones is bad when you’re trying to sleep (especially for people who travel for work).
This app regulates your blue light exposure outside daylight hours. f.lux, with applications for laptops and smartphones, has a tool that changes the colour temperature of your device to match the current natural light, making the screen go softer and pinker as the sun sets, and back to bright, blue-tinged light when it rises.
This is useful in daily life, helping minimize sleep disruption after looking at screens late at night, and can also help reduce jet lag if you change your time zone to that of your destination a few days in advance.
Cost: Free for MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux. Download here.
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