The Moscow to Vladivostok route of the Trans-Siberian Express spans the length of Russia. So prepare for a long journey! The railway itself passes through 10 different time zones on this particular route, which means the amazing Trans-Siberian experience comes with one problem – jet lag. Although there’s no specific treatment for jet lag, with the right knowledge you can cope with the changing time zones and enjoy every aspect of your journey without the unfortunate side effects.
Start preparations before you travel
The symptoms of jet lag include exhaustion, tiredness, difficulty staying awake during the day, poor sleep quality; concentration and memory problems; bloating and indigestion. It’s enough to put a dampener on any travel experience.
To prevent these side effects from ruining your Trans-Siberian experience, preparations should begin before you travel. Getting lots of rest and taking time to relax before you go to bed in the weeks leading up to your trip are essential in reducing jet lag.
Establish a good sleep routine
Changing your sleep routine in accordance with the time at your destination may not be possible as you’ll be travelling through several different time zones on your journey. However, establishing a good sleep routine will certainly help. Sleep Junkies offers some great advice for developing a more effective bedtime routine:
“Prepare for the next day before you get sleepy. Gather and prepare everything you will need for the next day (clothes, wallet, briefcase, keys, cell phone, lunch, etc.) as soon as you get home so you will be prepared for the next day before you run out of steam. Do the math. Figure out what time you need to go to bed in order to wake up rested and refreshed. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Once you determine your optimal amount of sleep, try to make your bedtime and wake time consistent.”
There are a number of must-have items you should pack for your Trans-Siberian rail journey. Packing a few creature comforts from home, such as your favourite blanket or pillow, will help you sink into your sleep routine even when you’re far away from home. An eye mask and ear plugs are also great investments for getting some shut eye on board.
Stay hydrated and active
Preventing jet lag on board the Trans-Siberian Express is all about staying hydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout your journey. Although it may be tempting, avoid relying too much on caffeine. Caffeine and alcohol have been proven to worsen jet lag symptoms rather than relieve them.
Keeping active during daytime hours is another must. Whilst the Sleep Foundation recommends vigorous exercise for inducing sleep, light exercise is better than no activity at all. A simple stroll around the carriage and plenty of walking when you arrive at your destination or stopover will ensure you can get the daily exercise you need to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Expose yourself to natural light
Your body generally knows it’s daytime when the sun is shining, so make sure you expose yourself to plenty of sunlight during the day. Even if you can’t get outside, open those carriage curtains and let the light flood in. Come night time, you should also create the conditions your body expects. Keep your cabin as dark as possible and avoid doing stimulating activities before you head to bed.