We’ve all been there. Wide awake at 4 am just begging the world for 4 more hours of sleep.
You swipe through every Facebook and Instagram post. You turn on something monotonous on Netflix. Maybe ask Alexa to play some light jazz to lull you to sleep.
You know what I’m talking about: Jet lag.
The downside to travel is that can completely dictate your life for days on end.
It’s what takes that “oh let’s have a nice 7 pm dinner with friends” and turns it into you at the table nearly face planting into your pasta at 7:45 because your sleep schedule is so off.
What is Jet Lag?
Jet lag is extreme tiredness that comes from having traveled across multiple time zones after your body adapted to the new place. It often causes you to be tired in the early evening, or wide awake in the middle of the night.
For many people, it represents the absolute worst part of traveling, and each year millions of people search valiantly for that one silver bullet that will solve their jet lag insomnia once and for all.
But I’m going to share a little secret with you, that I rarely tell people (because I get that weird, slight head turn confused look). You know the one I’m talking about:
I digress. My secret is:
I LOVE jet lag.
Or at least I love most of the things about jet lag.
I got back from our two month sabbatical almost two weeks ago, and you know what’s happened? I’ve lost 7 pounds, I’ve been the most productive I’ve been in months, and I have incredible amounts of energy.
Now, not all of this is because of the jet lag – but it all started from that.
One of the most common travel questions I get is how do you get over jet lag?
To those people I say, you’re asking the wrong question.
The better question is how do I make jet lag work for me, rather than against me?
Here are my three surprising benefits of jet lag and I love it so much.
Jet Lag Helps You Build a Habit of Waking Up Early
There are so many books, courses, blog posts etc. about how to wake up earlier. So many people claim they aren’t morning people, but wish they were.
If you’re open to it, jet lag is the ultimate way to become a morning person.
When I got back from my trip I was up between 4:00 and 4:15 every day for the first few days.
Day one I laid in bed for half an hour trying to just wish myself back to sleep with the “calming acoustic” Spotify mix.
That didn’t work, so I did the next best thing.
I got up, wrote 4,000 words, answered 50 emails, made a healthy breakfast, and put together a comprehensive plan for my week.
All before 8am.
I’ve been up before 5 every day since. And it’s been incredible. What started as jet lag, quickly turned into a lifestyle change, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Need more help with your mornings? Check out: 31 Things You Can Add to Your Morning Routine to Increase Productivity.
Jet Lag is the Ultimate Refresh Button
When you’re in the monotony of your daily routine, it can seem like the hardest thing in the world to break out of it. I could lay down an example here, but I don’t need to. You know what frustrating, unhealthy routines you have in your own life.
After a trip of even a few days away, your routine has already been thrown off. When you get back home you have to start a new one, whether you like it or not. It’s easy to just go back to the exact same things.
But frankly? If you put even a little bit of thought into it, it can be just as easy to start a totally new routine as well.
Something I’ve learned about myself, is I don’t do well with incremental change.
Just go to the gym one more day a week…
Try just having one drink a day…
Wake up just 10 minutes earlier…
That’s all fine for a couple days, but if I want to create significant change, I need bold moves and strict parameters.
I won’t go into the details on this post, but since getting back I’ve been on a more strict diet, haven’t had a drop of alcohol, and I’ve been waking up super early.
This would be really difficult if I just woke up one day and decided to completely change my life.
But I had jet lag on my side.
The plane ride home allowed me to outline exactly what I wanted to do. And jet lag did the rest by naturally waking me up at 4 am every day for a week.
It’s because of jet lag (and the motivation from two months of constant travel, food, and drink), that I’ve built an all new routine and completely hit the refresh button on bad habits that I’d fallen into this year.
Jet Lag Means You Did Something Interesting
The last benefit of jet lag is more of a mental one than anything else.
If you have jet lag, it means you did something interesting.
Even if you’re a business traveler who does the same boring trip to Omaha every week, there are a lot of people who would love to take that trip.
Personally, I can’t think of a single time in my entire life where jet lag wasn’t the result of something at least a little bit interesting or memorable. There was always a good story or two involved.
And that is a powerful reminder.
When you’re wide awake in the middle of the night or passing out at the dinner table – remember why you did it in the first place. And motivate yourself to continue doing it and putting yourself in that position.
You Have a Golden Opportunity. Use It
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you stumbled across it on a Google search or are otherwise trying to occupy yourself while scrolling through your phone in the middle of the night.
Jet lag is a blessing, not a curse.
Have all of those things you’ve been wanting to do in your daily life that been too difficult? Now is your chance to start something fresh.
Have you ever actually been up and working between 4:30 and 7:30. It’s the most incredible time of the day. No distractions, total focus, and even if you need a little mid afternoon power nap, you can rest easy knowing you’ve already accomplished more than you ever would have otherwise.
What are your thoughts on jet lag? I’d love to hear them.