After traveling across multiple time zones you feel sluggish and fatigued upon arrival. At your destination you’re sleepy when everyone else is wide awake and you find it difficult to get to sleep at bedtime.   This is jet lag, an unavoidable pain in the neck most travelers encounter. But you can certainly lessen the effect as well as the length of time you are subjected to it.

Jet lag can really knock you out

Jet lag can really knock you out

Here are ways to lessen the effects of jet lag so you can get to the serious business of having fun sooner.

1. Begin to slowly adjust to your destination’s time zone for a few days before your flight.  Go to sleep and wake up earlier by half an hour each day, or sleep and wake later depending on the direction you are going and your point of departure; east to west or west to east.  Although you will still feel jetlagged, the closer you get to your destination’s sleep pattern the less the effects of jet lag are likely to be once you arrive.

More time zones equals more jet lag

Crossing many time zones quickly will cause jet lag

2. Consider over-the-counter melatonin to ease you into your destination’s time zone. Some travelers swear by it, others claim it has no effect on them whatsoever.

3. Set you watch to your destination’s time zone as soon as you board the plane. This is purely psychological but why not give yourself every shot at reaching your objective of less jet lag. Try to sleep on the plane if that is your destination’s sleep pattern or strive to stay awake if it isn’t.

adjust to new time zon and reduce jet lag

Adjust to your destination’s time zone as soon as you can

4. If you plan to sleep on the plane try to choose your seat beforehand to ensure you get a seat more conducive to sleeping, like a window seat to lean your head.

5. Minimize sleep distractions. Use sleep masks to cover your eyes in order to control light exposure on the plane. I like the soft, silky mask with adjustable strap. Check it out here. Use ear plugs to help drown out noise. I find the noise cancelling headphones are too bulky to sleep with and the regular foam ones don’t isolate noise as well. A good alternative are custom molded earplugs; unbeatable noise cancellation, small and they mold to your own ears.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  Although a drink might make you sleepy, you are more likely to wake up before you’ve completed a restful sleep. Alcohol or caffeinated products will disrupt a person’s internal biological clock.

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink water several times during your flight.

Hydrate and reduce jet lag


7. Try a warm bath upon arrival at your destination. It can relax you and relieve sore muscles from traveling on long flights.

8. Adapt the meal patterns of your destination as soon as you can; have lunch when everyone else is having lunch even though your body is telling you it’s midnight.

9. Upon arrival at your destination, follow your usual sleep routine in the new time zone.

10. Get some exercise but not too close to your bedtime.

11. Get sunlight as soon as you arrive.  It will help to normalize your sleep pattern.

Sunlight reduces jet lag

Get some sunlight as soon as you can

12. Avoid exposure to tech gadgets; phone, tablet, eBook, etc. before sleep.

What are some you your tips for reducing the effects of jet lag?

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  1. These are great tips. I will definetly try melatonin as I’ve heard others use it as well. Also need to try adjusting to the new time zone days before the trip. I usually see my flying schedule and if I know I will be arriving at night, I avoid sleeping in the plane and vice versa.

  2. Hi, just returned from Thailand and the “lag” has been awful. We live in Florida. I did all of the above except sleep! I can’t sleep on the plane, at least in the back. I think we will start saving our pennies for business class. 🙂

    1. Hi. Wow. So sorry to hear that. I’ve been there so I know how you feel. Hope you’ll feel better after a couple of good night sleeps. Thaks for reading and commenting.

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