9 Tips To Get Over Jet Lag

Lady tired from jet lag

Jet lag can put a damper on your vacation, business, or other travel plans, but you don't have to stand for it because you can get over jet lag! In order to overcome jet lag You can do some simple things before, during, and after your travel time to get past the annoying and disruptive symptoms, and we're going to tell you what they are!

The joys of travel to foreign countries or even across country can be marred in part by jet lag. Crossing over several time zones can result in a number of jet lag symptoms, such as disrupted sleep, poor appetite, bad mood, brain fog, constipation or diarrhea, lack of energy, and a foul mood.

That's because overcoming jet lag while defying time zones causes your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, to get off balance. Your body's clock may still be in New York City, for example, even though you are physically taking in the beauty of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Read about 7 tips to sleep better tonight

How long does jet lag last?

You need one whole day to recover from jet lag for each time zone you cross, according to the Mayo Clinic. Yet how many of us have the luxury of that kind of time? Typically we need to return to work, school, our regular household routine, or other lifestyle habits soon after we set foot back home.

In a perfect world, there would be a jet lag cure in a pill or great tasting beverage. However, researchers have not created one yet. That's why for now, it's best to know how to avoid jet lag before you set foot on the plane, as well as a few other tricks to beat jet lag symptoms.

timezones and jet lag

How to avoid jet lag

Here are 9 tips you should remember and practice.

  1. Seek the sun. If the sun is still up when you arrive at your final destination, catch some rays. Natural light can help regulate your biological clock and help fight off jet lag. This applies to a cloudy as well—some of the sun's rays still shine through! Resist the urge to take a nap or hide in your hotel.
  2. Avoid alcohol. It can be tempting to meet your business associates or friends for a drink when you get off the plane, but resist. Alcohol can ruin your sleep as well as dehydrate you. Put off alcohol for the next day at least.
  3. Ban the blue. That's the blue light from electronic devices we're talking about here. If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep once you put your head down, don't resort to watching TV, using your laptop, or scrolling through your phone. Blue light stimulates the brain and makes it much more difficult to sleep.

Read about 5 ways to end sleep disruption from computer and tablet blue lights

  1. Squash the thought. Worrying about jet lag can make the experience worse. Don't dwell on the fact that your kids are going to bed when you are getting up or that you will be sitting down to dinner with your partner right now instead of waiting for a taxi in an early morning rain. Be present where you are.
  2. Sleep before you travel. You should never travel when you are sleep-deprived. Therefore, make sure you are well rested before you set out on your zone-crossing journey and you can better get over jet lag.
  3. Be early. If you are traveling across time zones to attend an important event, especially one that requires you to be at your best, then plan to arrive at least one or two days early. You don't want to stumble off of your plane and show up at a big presentation suffering from jet lag.
  4. Make pre-travel adjustments. If you are traveling east, retire one hour earlier each night before you leave. If you are traveling west, go to bed one hour later for several nights. This can help you better adjust to your new time zone.
  5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make symptoms of jet lag worse. Drink plenty of water (not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages) before, during, and after your flights.
  6. Sleep on the plane. If it will be nighttime when you arrive at your destination, you should try to sleep on the plane. Bring earplugs and relaxing music in case you need some help. However, if it will be daylight when you get to your destination, resist the urge to sleep on the plane.

Melatonin for jet lag

Another tip on how to avoid jet lag is to take a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythm and can assist with reducing jet lag symptoms.

If you are traveling east across time zones, you can take melatonin 20 to 30 minutes before the target bedtime at your destination. You do not need to take melatonin for jet lag if you are traveling westward.

A typical dose is 0.5 mg for jet lag, although you may need a higher dose to promote sleep. Never take melatonin along with other sedatives, such as sleeping pills or alcohol.

How do you typically deal with jet lag? Have you ever tried any of the tips offered here? Do you have some other tips to share?

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Boyd K. Tips to prevent and reduce jet lag. One Medical. 2018 Nov 16
Mayo Clinic. Jet lag disorder
Torres M. The biggest mistakes you'll make trying to beat jet lag. Ladders 2018 May 6
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Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently, she lives in Tucson, Arizona.