Coping with jet lag

By | 15 juin 2017

When I go through chess news, it is not rare to hear a story about a player being the victim of jet lag at the start of a tournament.

While you’ll have no problem in your time zone, opting for an exotic destination can cost you frustrating counter-performances at first. Some of you have probably already experienced it and know how bad it feels when you have to catch up on sleep during the whole tournament. These quick tips should help you fight this lack of time mark and adjust as fast as possible to your new environment.

Opt for overnight flights

Aiming for an overnight flight means that you will arrive in the morning or in the afternoon at your destination. This is the best way to replicate your normal schedule. Try sleeping during the travel to insure enough rest for the long day to come.

Sport on landing

First thing to do when you arrive is of course to check in. Next step? Find a place where you can exercise. Even 15 minutes of physical activity will help you avoid jet lag.

Go outside

Make the most of early morning sunshine and go outside even if the weather is not on your side. This will help you feel more awake mentally and physically. You can ideally combine it with your chosen sport. A short jogging looks like the easiest and most practical solution, but feel free to go for any other physical activity if you feel for it.

Don’t take naps

Avoid napping because it will damage your sleep architecture the next night. Definitely don’t do so after 3-4 pm local but if you really have to earlier in the day, opt for 15 minutes maximum.

Healthy day

If your plan was to combine chess and vacation, you can probably have a fancy drink after arrival. But making the extra effort of a healthy first day will definitely give you more energy for the rest of the week. So, make it a point to:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol (especially in the afternoon and evening)
  • Eat healthy

Sleep and perform

By following these advice, you’ll maybe still end up tired your first day. But after a full night’s sleep (yes you can catch up if needed), you’ll be ready to enter the tournament in good shape. Don’t you think this extra energy could make a difference and lead to a great performance?