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15+ Combatting and Getting Over Jet Lag Tips

Nobody likes jet lag! Check out our jet lag tips on how to combat it. How to get over it. Don’t let jet lag ruin your vacation.

Some people will tell you that jet lag is a myth, that it’s not really a thing. Scientists, however, will disagree. The body definitely has an internal clock linked to our regular sleep and waking patterns. Moving your body rapidly to a new location with at least 6 hours time difference, and that all gets thrown off. How quickly you can reset your internal clock to your new location depends on several factors. Here are our helpful tips for combatting jet lag.

Fighting Jet Lag – Before You Go

Lufthansa jets shining in the golden glow as the sun sets behind Frankfurt Airport.
  • When booking your flight try to arrive at your destination in the afternoon/evening, this will allow you to stay up until a decent bed time and get you started on a regular sleeping schedule in your new time zone.  Arriving between 7 and 10 pm, gives you time to get your baggage, get to your hotel, unwind, and go right to bed.
  • If you’re unable to secure a booking that will have you landing in the afternoon, go for a morning arrival, this way you can sleep on the plane and trick yourself into thinking you’ve slept a whole night.
  • Invest in a good neck pillow. I mean, this is a travel staple and no-brainer, but if you want to be comfortable on a plane, get a neck pillow.
  • Buy a light blocking eye mask.
  • Pack whatever pajamas you actually wear on a day to day basis into your carry-on luggage, this will ensure that your sleep isn’t interrupted when you arrive at your hotel simply because you don’t feel comfortable. I have tried to forgo PJ’s altogether in hopes of packing less but it messes me up every time. Get over the light packing in this department and pack your most comfortable pajamas to get on a good sleep schedule when you arrive. You’re body, and future travel plans will be all the brighter.
Essentials for combating jet lag: comfy PJs and socks, water bottle, reading/listening material, travel pillow, and eye shades.

Staying Comfortable On the Plane

  • First and foremost, and this is probably the best tip I can give you altogether: change all of your clocks (phone, watch, laptop, tablet etc..) to the current time at your destination. NEVER think about the time difference. You are now in a new time zone. Think of your new life in your new time zone. No counting backward to see what time it is at “home”, if it’s 4pm where your going, it’s 4pm to you now, I don’t even care if you’re still on the tarmac and it’s midnight. It’s 4pm damnit!
  • Drink lots and lots of water! This is paramount to combatting jet lag, keep your body happy and hydrated.
  • If you’re arriving in the afternoon, DO NOT DRINK ANY CAFFEINE! I know this is a hard one, especially for hardcore caffeine fiends, but seriously, being in the air with filtered oxygen and such messes with our bodies, a long with the added stress of time changes. It’s really just not worth the caffeine kick. If you stay caffeine free for the flight, and when you arrive, by the time you get to bed that night chances are you’ll fall asleep ASAP and awake the next morning feeling refreshed and Jet Lag free.
  • Also if you’re arriving in the afternoon, DO NOT SLEEP ON THE PLANE! I know this is a weird one, people want to sleep on planes to make the time go by faster. But if you sleep on the plane your body will be completely confused when you arrive in the afternoon/evening and chances are it will be very difficult to get to sleep that night. Also, nowadays there are excellent entertainment systems on most international flights so watch a movie, or three. Put a bunch of games on your tablet and read some e-books. You’ll be fine. Don’t sleep!
  • If you are arriving in the morning, avoid caffeine on the plane as well. But get a coffee or a coke once you’ve made it through customs.
  • And, if you are arriving in the morning, sleep on the plane, trick your mind into thinking you’ve slept a whole night.

Additional Reading:
15 Airport Hacks To Help You Travel Like a Pro
How to Find Cheap Flights

Corinne snoozing comfortably on the flight to help fight jet lag.

Conquering Jet Lag – When Your Flight is Finished

  • No matter what time of day it is, do not take a nap. Wait until about 9pm and go to sleep. You might be dead tired, but that’s what you want. If you’re dead tired, you’re far more likely to sleep through the night and avoid waking up at 3am wide awake.
  • If you arrive in the morning, now’s the time for caffeine.
  • Have a beer, or whatever alcoholic beverage you prefer about an hour or two before you plan on going to bed. This will give you a chance to relax and try the local brew! If you prefer not to drink alcohol, eat some turkey?
  • Keep drinking as much water as you can.
  • Stay active and busy! Don’t head straight to the hotel to “relax” you wont “relax” you’ll take a nap and all hope of not being jet lagged will be out the window. Stay active, take a long walk, try some new foods, don’t sit down for too long or go on a long drive. Stay on your feet, don’t let yourself snooze at all.
  • After you’ve had your beer, take a warm bath or shower. This could also make for a nice travel experience. For example, if you’re in Japan you can head to the local Onsen or Hot Spring, relax in the many pools. If you’re in the Czech Republic sooth your body in a beer bath, and have some more beers, you’ll definitely sleep sound later. In Budapest check out the baths. In most places there is some kind of local way to relax in warm water, check it out. You’ll be very happy that you did. But if you can’t find anything, take a long hot bath or shower and drink another glass of water.
  • Finally, block out all the lights and go to sleep. Don’t think about what time it is at home. Don’t browse the internet (the blue light from the screen can trick your mind into thinking it’s daylight). Just turn out the lights, put on your eye mask if needed, put on your comfiest pjs and go to sleep.

You’ll thank me in the morning.

Do you have any tips for avoiding let jag?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

15+ Tips and Tricks to Diminish or Completely Surpass Jet Lag

Tom Bartel

Thursday 9th of March 2017

All good ones, Corinne and Jim. I'm pretty good about most of these, but one of these days, I need to get a neck pillow. The question then is, what do you do with it for the rest of the time?

Corinne Vail

Friday 10th of March 2017

Tom, You know us, we are good time wasters....usually, we just watch movies and read and eat. You?

Nancie Lee

Thursday 7th of April 2016

Great tips! I love #6. I tend to do that, so I'm going to put that into practice. I haven't been overseas in a while and now I'm wishing I could experience some jet lag!! haha Thanks for sharing!

Jim Vail

Friday 8th of April 2016

Yeah, that's the number one thing that people do that extends the jet lag. Glad you found something helpful!

budget jan

Monday 4th of April 2016

I like your No. 1 "On the Plane" tip to change the time on everything so you are in sync with your arrival port. The rest are all very solid tips too. Pinning it too.

Jim Vail

Monday 4th of April 2016

Thanks Jan!

Andrea on Vacation

Monday 4th of April 2016

Avoid alcohol is my #1 mantra. Water and getting my sleep cycle set up with my destination always help!

Corinne Vail

Monday 4th of April 2016

Andrea, I agree 100%!

Grey World Nomads

Monday 4th of April 2016

Thanks for your tips which give me some inspiration what to try next time going east or west. #TPThursday

Corinne Vail

Monday 4th of April 2016

Marcelle and George, I hope it works!