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How to avoid Jet Lag - 8 essential tips every traveler must know

Simply said: Jet lag, also known as Time Zone Change Syndrome or Desynchronosis, occurs when people travel rapidly from east to west, or west to east in an aircraft.

We all know it, the worst is to wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry, restless and AWAKE. Certainly not everyone reacts the same way to jet lag, nevertheless there are

--> 8 simple Hacks that will help you win the fight against Jet Lag

avoid jetlag

1. Rest well before your trip

Traveling will be tough enough on your body. Start your trip well rested so your body has the energy to deal with the time zone difference and the trouble of the voyage itself.

2. Stay hydrated, avoid alcohol & control your caffeine consumption

Drink lots of water especially during the flight. It is important to stay hydrated since dehydration makes jet lag symptoms worse. Dehydration is a major issue when taking a long haul flight. The problem arises due to spending long periods of time in climate controlled environment where the relative humidity can be as low as 10% - 15%. Imagine, that is three times drier than in the Sahara Desert!

Do not be shy and ASK FOR WATER! There is enough water loaded on each flight and most airlines have an open bar in the rear galleys with water and juices. Look after yourself --> Help Yourself! Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you. Alcohol will not only dehydrate you, but make you sleepy and confused about time zones and therefore irritate your body schedule. Caffeine shall be consumed wisely, so it has a stronger effect when really needed!

3. Be smart - Eat smart

Heavy meals will make you tired. Eat light meals at your regular eating times (breakfast, lunch, dinner etc.), but adjust to the time zone you are currently in / heading to. If you get hungry at random hours (which is likely to happen) eat healthy meals or snacks that will fill you up for a few hours.

Tip: Always have healthy snacks (peanuts, rice wafer, fruits, protein bars) with you to avoid waking up in the middle of the night and finding nothing else, but a selling machine filled with sugary snacks to buy food from.

4. Set your watches and phones to the new Time Zone

The moment you board the plane, change your time from local time to the time of your destination. By adjusting your watches you most likely won't think about the current time at home. Your mind will adjust to the new time zone, which will help your body get coordinated. Eat and ESPECIALLY SLEEP according to the local time of your destination.

5. Nap wisely (if at all)

Power napping (~20minutes) is good, but your body has to be used to taking power naps. Otherwise, I strongly recommend to resist the urge to pass out for one simple reason: if you are not used to forcing yourself up after a 20minutes power nap, trust me, you won't have the strength to do it when you are super tired and confused about time zones.

6. Stay AWAKE until bedtime!

Unless you arrive at your destination close to bedtime, stay awake until a reasonable bedtime hour.

Spend as much time as you can in daylight and stay busy. The natural light will help you stay awake. If bedtime is more than three hours away --> drink caffeine or eat fruits rich in Vitamin C (Kiwi!!)

7. Go to bed at bedtime!

Even though you are having a hard time feeling tired, try to start resting at reasonable hours. Do things that help you relax (read a book, drink tea, do yoga, call a friend etc) and dim the lights.

8. Keep your routines

If you:

  • are used to getting up early and having a balanced breakfast, do it also when abroad (also when not feeling to too hungry)

  • exercise in the mornings --> keep exercising, even if in shorter sessions

  • are used to taking power naps, keep taking them if possible at the same time you would take your naps at home

→ keeping routines will help your body get adjusted faster to the local time and therefore help your inner body clock adjust

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