Effective Ways to Avoid Travel Fatigue
Why is travel so tiring? After all, oftentimes it involves a lot of sitting. But in addition to all of that sitting, there’s also hauling luggage, rushing through airports, poor or interrupted sleep, skipped or poor-quality meals, low-oxygen recycled air if you’re flying, not to mention, restriction of fluids. All of this, and more, can add up to travel fatigue. Avoiding travel fatigue and maintaining energy levels before, during and after a trip requires a proactive plan. And the first part of that plan revolves around hydration.
Dehydration and fatigue go hand in hand. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that even mild dehydration (1.36%) caused the women in the study to have “degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, and headache symptoms” compared to the women in the study who were well hydrated. The same results were achieved in a 2013 study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which also showed that dehydration negatively impacted sleep.
To ensure sleep/wake cycles don’t become too disrupted during travel, in addition to hydration, consider melatonin. Melatonin in higher doses is most known to help travelers address jet lag, but in lower doses can also support sound sleep even if jet lag is not an issue.*
Travel can also cause some people to deviate from their healthy diet, having to opt for quick “junk” food and snacks as available. One of the best ways to avoid this travel trap is to pack healthy snacks.
Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola rosea, Panax ginseng and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) have been shown to support energy*. Adaptogens such as these can also help travelers cope with stress, which is likely one way they support optimal energy levels. Green tea has also been shown to naturally and safely support energy levels.*
The extract of Cordyceps sinensis has been shown to support energy levels by increasing the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is needed for intracellular energy.* In addition, a 2015 review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine describes the immune supporting aspects of Cordyceps, providing an added bonus to weary travelers.* Preliminary research also indicates that Cordyceps can help support healthy inflammation, healthy blood sugar levels in the normal range, and cardiovascular health.*
Travel can be hard on both the body and mind, resulting in fatigue. By using a proactive and integrative approach, patients who travel can maintain energy levels and enjoy their journeys.
Armstrong LE, Ganio MS, Casa DJ, et al. The Journal of Nutrition. 2012;142(2):382-388.
Ferracioli-Oda E, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH. PLoS One. 2013;8(5).
Liao L, He Y, Li L, et al. Chinese Medicine. 2018;13:57.
Liu Y, Wang J, Wang W, et al. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015.
Pross N, Demazieres A, Girard N, et al. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013;109(2):313-321.
Xu YF. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2016;18(12):1083-1092.