Updated January 3, 2020

How long does jet lag last — and is it impossible to cure? No way! We’ve got you covered when it comes to staying alert on your trip. Just check out these tips for beating jet lag that are easy to follow.

Download a PDF of this post here for future reference!

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, a pain in the neck most travelers encounter.

You may not be able to prevent jet lag entirely, but you can certainly minimize the effect as well as the length of time you are subjected to it. These tips should help lessen the effects of jet lag so you can get to the serious business of having fun sooner.

a woman reesting in the sun recuperating from jet lag
Jet lag can really knock you out


Adjust to your new time zone to help beat jet lag

Our top tip for beating jet lag is to 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. Preparing yourself for your new time zone is one indicator of how long jet lag lasts on your trip.

How long does jet lag last? Tips for beating jet lag
Crossing many time zones quickly will cause jet lag

Consider melatonin

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


Set your watch

Set your 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.

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

Choose your plane seat carefully

Another great tip for beating jet lag? 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. How much sleep you get on the plane is another major indicator of how long jet lag lasts on your trip.

Jet lag is for amateurs. Dick Clark Click To Tweet

 Get the right sleep gear

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 an adjustable strap. Check it out here.

Use earplugs to help drown out the noise. I find the noise-canceling headphones are too bulky to sleep with and the regular foam ones don’t isolate noise as well. A good alternative is custom-molded earplugs; unbeatable noise cancellation, small and they mold to your own ears.

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.

Hydrate, and then hydrate some more

Drink water several times during your flight. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This is one of the most important tips for beating jet lag! Dehydration is a major indicator of how long jet lag lasts on your trip.

a water fall


Indulge in a warm bath

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

Adapt the meal patterns of your destination

Begin adapting as soon as you arrive; have lunch when everyone else is having lunch even though your body is telling you it’s midnight.

Jet lag is your soul trying to catch up after flying. Ryan Ross Click To Tweet

Follow your regular sleep pattern

Upon arrival at your destination, follow your usual sleep routine in the new time zone. How long does jet lag last? It’s sure to last longer if you never adjust to your new time zone.


Exercise is the answer to so many questions and issues. It will also help with jet lag. Get some exercise but not too close to your bedtime. Here are some other tips on how to exercise while traveling.

Embrace the sun

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

A woman in sunlight. Sunlight reduces jet lag
Get some sunlight as soon as you can

Avoid blue light at bedtime

Exposure to tech gadgets; phone, tablet, eBook, etc. before sleep will disturb your sleep. Avoid this.


Select the appropriate return flight

Pick a flight that lets you arrive later in the day and strive to stay awake until 9 or 10 p.m. local time. If you absolutely have to nap, make it short. No more than a couple of hours.

Be nice to yourself

Treat yourself well on your return. Don’t force yourself to return to work the next day unless absolutely necessary. If you must return to work immediately, don’t schedule overly challenging activities.

Eat right

Choose nutrient rice meals like grains, fruits, and veggies. These tips for beating jet lag are one of the easiest ways to stay healthy while traveling.

My best advice for jet lag is to sleep as much as you can on a plane, no matter what time it is. Then, when you arrive at your destination, do some sort of physical activity. Tom Daley Click To Tweet

Limit alcohol

How long does jet lag last? Even longer after drinking alcohol! Let your body adjust to your home sleep patterns naturally, resist the temptation to help the process with alcohol.

Sunlight and water

Just like the jet lag prevention tips at other stages, hydrating and exposure to sunlight are key and will help you adjust to your regular time frame faster.

What are some of your tips for beating jet lag? How long does jet lag last for you? Share your tips with us.

>>If you enjoyed this post and would like to keep it for future reference, download a PDF here!<<



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4 Responses

  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.

    1. Good point! I found exposing myself to sunlight also makes a big difference. Glad I could help.

  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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Talek Nantes

This blog was created to inspire your travels and to explore experiences in fascinating locations. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there. Come see the world with me!

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