How to Prevent Jet Lag

When you hop from one time zone to another you will see that your biological clock gets out of sync with your destination; causing you a symptom known as jet lag. Generally, jet lag’s effects are stronger when you travel due east, but the extent of its effect depends on the number of time zones crossed rather than the length of the flight.  As a result, you feel some disorientation, disturbed sleep, irritation, lack of concentration, dizziness, and even general depression.  These symptoms are cause by the body as it tries to adjust to its new time.

Since you don’t want to waste any time on your trip feeling beat down by these symptoms, here are some of the best tips that can help you prevent jet lag.

PREVENT JET LAG BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT

Select the best flight – Try selecting flights with less or no layovers.  Changing cabin pressure repeatedly exacerbates your jet lag.

Adjust your meal times – If possible, eat your meals according to the times of your destination. It might be a bit excessive when there are many time-zones between your home and your destination, but it might be worth it since it helps reduce the stomach stress when you arrive at your destination.

Adjust your diet – Implement a high-protein, low-carb, low-calorie meals, containing limited amounts of sodium and fat. The protein provides energy, while the low amount of calories and carbs makes you feel less sluggish.

Eat meals you will probably eat at your destination – You can plan ahead and start eating different types of food found at your destination, which will help reduce the shock of new spices when you arrive. This will help keep the stomachaches that are often related to jet lag to a minimum.

Get plenty of rest – Try to have a peaceful and restful night. Don’t go out partying the night before. If you have a farewell party, refrain from drinking too much alcohol. The last thing you want is to be hung over on the airplane.  If possible, adjust your sleeping patterns to your destination time beforehand.  It will pay off when you feel energetic upon arrival.

PREVENT JET LAG DURING THE FLIGHT

Adjust your watch – Set your watch to your destination time as soon as you board the plane.  It will help you get used to the new time zone quicker.

Drink a lot of water – One of the most effective ways to reduce jet lag is to stay hydrated.  Don’t consume any alcohol, as these tend to dehydrate you. Coffee should also be avoided, you want to be able to sleep and rest during your flight.  Ok, ok, have one beer or cup of coffee, but keep it to the minimum and drink more water to dilute its effect.  Just be ready to make lots of trips to the restroom.

Stretch – Every now and then get up of your seat and stretch your legs, arms, back, and neck.  Even while seated try doing some simple yoga stretching, these moves will help improve circulation.  Here is a video with some easy moves you can perform during your flight.

Stay relaxed during your flight – Enjoy the in-flight entertainment, read a book, chat with your neighbor, etc.  This will help you keep a relaxed mindset that will help you adjust better to your new time setting.

Get some sleep – This probably is one of the most important factors to reduce your jet lag.  The No. 1 complaint of jet lag sufferers is fatigue at odd hours of the day, due to the change of time and lack of rest.

If sleeping turns out to be an impossible task for you, try some homeopathic products to stimulate your sleep, but try not to resort to sleeping pills.

PREVENT JET LAG AFTER THE FLIGHT

Don’t go straight to sleep – You will be tired and your body will naturally want to rest at odd times during the day.  Do your best to resist that urge.  Stay active and awake until your destination’s bedtime. This will help you adjust your body clock to your new destination even quicker.  If it is too hard for you to stay awake, then just take a power nap, but don’t give in to a deep sleep.

Take some sunlight – Staying outdoors can help you increase your alertness, which in turn will keep you active.  Don’t use sunglasses, the brightest your visual image the better.  If it’s cloudy or raining in your destination, stay in places with bright lights, it as a similar effect to the natural light.  Try walking and exercising, this will help your clock adjust to its new time.

Keep a good energy level – Replenish your system with several vitamin supplements and food.  Eat fruits and vegetable to keep a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  Taking extra Vitamin C will help you stay active and reduce your jet lag.

At first, prevent eating huge feasts; these will make you feel tired and sleepy.  Instead, eat small, light meals more often.

Whatever it takes, there is no reason why jet lag should bring down and impact negatively your first days at your destination.

How do you conquer jet lag?

 

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15 thoughts on “How to Prevent Jet Lag”

  1. Good tips Norbert. The best is probably drink lots of water and don’t go to sleep right when you land. Thanks for all the rest of the ideas too.

  2. Thanks Aaron! You’re right, staying hydrated and avoiding going to bed once you’re at your destination helps the most. On one of my trips to Europe I arrived at 9am and went straight to bed… BIG mistake. It took me so long to adjust to their time. I learned from that one.

  3. Great tips Aaron. Jet lag is such a killer. Being Australian, there are little flights you can take in the world that won’t give you jet lag. I hate it, it is the worst experience. I really think drinking lots of water is key, trying to sleep on the plane and definitely do not go to sleep at your destination time until it is bedtime there. Otherwise it will take you longer to recover.

  4. P.S I am sorry Norbert, I just noticed I called you Aaron, and I know that is not your name. I think I might be suffering from jet lag at the moment. Can you get that from sitting on your couch staring at the computer all day? Feel like a bit of a twat right now!
    Sorry once again.

    1. hahahaha don’t worry Caz. Well, sometimes I lose track of time when I spend all day at the computer… might be another type of “jet” lag… lol
      Yes, lots of water and not going to bed until bedtime is key. I don’t tend to drink water often, so while flying I try to force myself to drink more… for my own good! 😀

    1. Thanks for sharing that tip with us Jessiev. I didn’t know about the dried tart cherries. Could use them on my next “jet lag inducing” trip. 🙂

  5. All good advice, and for as long as I’ve been a travel writer I’ve followed the same rules, but I find it makes no difference if I’m travelling in an easterly direction. Any other direction – west, north, south – all fine, but not east! Ugh!

    1. Well, when traveling north and south you are staying on the same or similar time zone. Traveling west changes your timezone but time “changes slowly” if we can say, the change in hours is less significant. But going east can be disorienting (for some) because you see a significant change in hours between destinations (in a way, you go ahead of time…). That might be why east gives “stronger” jet lags.

  6. El Cid Vacation

    it would help you to stay awake if you try to roam around the place for a bit. get to take a sneak peak of the vicinity 😉

  7. I find that skipping the in-flight meal (or meals, as it were) really makes a difference in feeling better after landing. I prefer to eat a small piece of fruit instead — goes a long way on a long haul. Landing on a near-empty stomach always makes me feel better.

    1. I’ve heard about skipping the in-flight meal to reduce your jet lag. I haven’t tried that one yet. I admit that every time the flight attendant passes by with some food or drink, I feel the urge to get a snack or something light. If the flight is not too long I’m sure I can try it and see the difference. Hmmm… I don’t know about a 14 hours flight. That’s a challenge for me. lol 🙂

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