When you travel outside of your timezone, you might think jet lag is just another price to pay along with plane tickets, rental cars and hotel rooms.
But jet lag, and the groggy, sleepless nights that go with it don’t have to be apart of your trip if you know how to beat it.
Here’s what to do before, during and after you arrive at your final destination to show you how to beat jet lag once and for all.
How to Beat Jet Lag: 15 Strategies & Tips
Strategies for Planning for Jet Lag
You might think that the race against jet lag starts when you land at your final destination, but you can come out ahead even before you take off.
#1. Choose Flights Based on Arrival TimePrice and the length of your flight aren’t the only things that matter when booking your ticket. Before you make your purchase consider what time you’ll arrive at your final destination.
Red eye flights are cheap, but they take a toll on your body because they throw off your circadian rhythmTrying to sleep on a red eye flight is not easy.
If it’s possible, try to choose a flight with a later departure time that arrives at your destination in the evening. These flights give you the chance to get enough rest before you go and go straight to bed once you arrive.
Starting out your trip with a good night’s rest can help you beat jet lag before you even land because you’re already caught up on sleep.
#2. Research Your Destination’s Time Zone
Knowledge is power. Understanding the time difference between home and your new destination can help you mentally prepare yourself for the changes your body will go through.
If your new timezone is only a few hours different and your trip is short, you can help avoid jet lag by sticking to your same routine as your home timezone. If your new timezone is multiple hours ahead and its a long haul flight, expect to make gradual changes to the way you eat, sleep and even work.
Here are a few tips to help you with your research:
- Some countries and states don’t participate in daylight savings time so the time difference may vary depending on the season.
- Keep your watch set to the time at your home timezone so you can track your typical routine
- The world clock function on the iPhone clock app allows you to search different destinations and keep track of their time zones in real time
- Schedule important work calls or virtual meetings at a mutual time that benefits both parties in each time zone
Understanding how long of a time change you’ll go through can help you plan ways to get enough rest and avoid jet lag on your trip.
#3. Know your Circadian Rhythm
Once you know what to expect with a time change, you can apply this new information to your typical circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock and whether or not you travel across time zones, this is how your body knows when to sleep naturally.
Jet lag happens when our circadian rhythm falls out of pace with the new time zone. But knowing how your body functions on a regular day can help you know what to expect when you switch time zones.
If you typically sleep for eight hours each night, make sure you’re still getting those eight hours even though you’re not at home.
Sticking to your circadian rhythm away from home can help reduce the effects of jet lag that come on when your natural sleeping habits are out of alignment.
#4. Plan to Sleep on the Flight
Jet lag thrives when you don’t get enough rest and that’s not easy to combat when you’re traveling all day.
Finding quick and simple ways to sleep on the flight can save you hours of lost time tossing and turning at your new destination.
Bring a few sleep accessories with you in your carry-on so you can try and get enough sleep on your next flight to a new time zone.
#5. Schedule Time to Sleep Before Venturing Out
Just because you’ve landed in an exciting new place, doesn’t mean you need to hit the ground running.
It can be tempting to shoot right out the door once you out your bags down, but taking a nap or going to bed straight away can save you more hassle down the road.
Skipping the excitement for a few hours can help you get a head of your jet lag and help you catch up on any sleep you might have lost on your way to your destination.
Strategies for Smart Sleep
Getting enough rest at home can be troublesome enough without a crying baby only inches beside you and the sound of the plane engine all around you.
Just because getting enough sleep is tough when traveling, there can be ways around it.
#6. Bring Natural Supplements
Jet lag stems from a hormonal imbalance that happens when the brain produces sleep hormones at a time when we’re not ready to fall asleep (and produces wakefulness hormones when we are). To get this imbalance back on track, you can take natural supplements that get these hormones aligned for your schedule in a new timezone.
Melatonin is one of the common supplements that acts as a sleep aid so you can take it when it’s time for bed but you just can’t seem to stay asleep. The FLIGHTFUD Inflight Elixir is made with the tart cherry, which is one of the most natural sources of melatonin. You can beat jet lag by taking the Inflight Elixir your body needs a boost getting you to a sleep filled night.
#7. Bring Noise Canceling Headphones
On top of the loud sound of the plane’s engine, there’s a lot of added commotion on each flight that can make it harder for you to fall asleep. One of the best ways to block out the chaos around you is to put on a pair of noise canceling headphones.
A pair of noise canceling headphones can make it easier for you to relax and catch up on rest. They’re a great gift for you or the traveler in your life who needs complete peace and quiet to get some sleep on their next flight.
#8. Bring an Eye Mask
The sun might be up, but your internal clock says it’s time for bed.
On a typical day, you’re ready for bed when the sun goes down, but that’s not the case when you’re away from home in a new time zone.
Don’t let the added light stop you from getting the rest you need by using an eye mask. Having an eye mask with you in your carry-on can help you avoid the unnecessary light that could potentially cause you to lose sleep.
Beat Jet Lag by Staying Healthy
Maintaining your overall health on your trip can help you beat jet lag by staying aligned with your daily routine. Sticking with healthy foods and staying hydrated can reduce the impact jet lag has on your body while you’re away from home.
#9. Try Fasting
Because jet lag is a hormonal imbalance, fasting is a way to starve jet lag of its effects on your body. Your body produces hormones at certain times of the day depending on things like when it’s time to sleep, if something is stress and when it’s time to eat food.
By fasting, you can tell your body that you’re headed for a new eating schedule and thus your hormones will follow suit. The suggested fasting duration for travel is roughly 16 hours before your plane lands and until then all you should do is stay hydrated with just water.
If you have the chance to try this fasting technique, you’ll be able to get your hormones back in line to help you beat jet lag before you land.
#10. Bring Wholefood Snacks
If you’re not one for fasting, be sure to bring plenty of wholefood snacks that can help you fight off jet lag. They’ll also be able to give you essential nutrients that can help your immune system stay healthy while on your flight.
Some examples of wholefood snacks to help with jet lag:
- Travel oatmeal packages
- Quinoa and other whole grain carbohydrates
- Fruits like bananas, cherries, and goji berries
- Vegetables like celery and carrots
#11. Bring a Water bottle
Dehydration is a main cause of jet lag so you want to be sure you’re drinking enough water when you’re traveling.
Sometimes finding enough water in the airport can get expensive so having a water bottle on hand that you can fill up whenever you need to will save you from getting dehydrated.
A water bottle is also helpful if you need to mix your natural supplements like the Inflight Elixir when you’re on the plane.
#12. Protect Your Immune System
You’ll really feel the effects of jet lag if you let your immune system take a hit while traveling. You don’t want to be sick and tired when you’re supposed to be on an important work trip or getting to see a new destination for the first time. You’ll want to load up on the vitamin C for your next flight so your immune system can stand a chance against the many germs you’ll come in contact with on the plane or at the airport.
Taking the Inflight Elixir with you on your next trip can help boost your immune system because it has 110% of your recommended daily Vitamin C intake through its natural ingredients like the Camu Camu berry, goji berries, and coconut water.
Eliminate Added Stress
Stress is a major cause of jet lag so doing everything you can to make sure your trip runs smoothly can help you enjoy your time traveling and avoid the impact of jet lag.
#13. Keep Yourself Organized
Trying to keep track of boarding passes, work documents, and travel information can be stressful even when you get enough sleep. To keep your stress levels down, try downloading a few travel apps that keep all your information organized.
The app TripIt is great for travel because it automatically combs your email to aggregate your travel plans so you don’t have to sift through everything in your inbox when you need that time to get more rest.
Staying organized with everything you need for your trip will give you more time to focus on relaxing and ultimately beating jet lag on your next flight.
#14. Pack the Essentials
Bringing everything that you need in just a few bags can make all the difference when it comes to beating jet lag.
Traveling light can help you avoid the stress that comes with going through security, having to wait at baggage claim or dealing with lost luggage. By skipping the stress at security and baggage claim, you’ll free up enough time for a few deep breaths that can help you destress on a long travel day.
For more tips about packing smart, use our packing guide for your carry-on or checked bag.
#15. Book Airport Transportation Ahead of Time
When you land in a new destination after a long flight, you’re probably too tired to even get your bags from baggage claim let alone drive to your hotel.
Trying to find the location for the hotel shuttle or call a taxi could take a lot of time and all you want to do is make it to your bed. Taking the time to set up transportation to your hotel can save you unwanted hassle when you’re already struggling to keep your eyes open.
Beat Jet Lag before it Beats You
Jet lag can be a traveler's biggest obstacle when it comes to enjoying a trip, but you have the tools to overcome it. Being aware of the time changes and prepared for the effects it has on your body can help you beat jet lag no matter where you are.
What are some of the ways you try to beat jet lag? Is there something that works well for you? Do you think there’s anything that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below.