5 Simple Tips to Beat Jet Lag While Travelling

5 Simple Tips to Beat Jet Lag While Travelling

Dreading those long-haul flights that overwhelm you with exhaustion during a vacation? Here are five simple ways to alleviate jet lag on your travels.

Travelling is all fun and games till you hit that dreaded wall we are all so familiar with – jet lag. Travelling out of Asia towards the West is even tougher on the body clock since we gain a generous handful of hours, translating into the need to stay up longer than we would back home.

The last thing we ever want to deal with when we’re trying to explore and enjoy our vacation is to have to struggle with keeping our eyes open, especially in a foreign land. But there are some easy tricks to help alleviate the torture, although there is no guarantee that they will eliminate the onset of lethargy altogether.

Opt for overnight flights

jet leg hacks

Choosing an overnight flight takes the work out of trying to figure out when to sleep and when to stay awake while in the air. You’ll most likely have dinner at a normal time and be more willing to catch some Z’s than on mid-day flight. Depending on the duration of the flight and the number of time zones you cross, you’ll probably arrive at your destination in the morning or afternoon. Just try and not be tempted to go on a movie marathon with the in-flight entertainment!

Plan a few days ahead

A few days before your flight, try gradually adjusting your sleep habits so you can start getting in sync with your destination’s time zone. Schedule your bedtime one hour later if you’re heading west for starters. For those of us with full-time jobs, this is going to be a little bit of a nightmare when it comes to waking up, but if you’re serious about overcoming jet lag while on vacation, it’s worth a try.

If you’re bad at math (like most of us), download a free app like Jetlag Rooster, which creates a detailed sleep schedule based on your travel itinerary.

Avoid in-flight booze and caffeine

jet leg hacks

We’re all too familiar with how the air inside airplanes can be drying. You might notice that your skin turns lacklustre and is no longer as supple as when you’re on the ground. So, every once in a while, you should get a glass of water to keep your hydration at a healthy level – don’t worry too much about the frequent toilet trips (unless you’re seated by the window, then maybe you’ll want to ration your water intake).

Another mindful note to take is that although you might find that a glass of wine helps you fall asleep faster, the quality of rest you get will be intermittent and really not beneficial to overcoming jet lag. On top of that, alcohol is already potent enough without the assistance of high altitude and lack of moisture, so you can pretty much guess at how effective it is at shrivelling you up. 

On arrival, stay awake until an early local bedtime

Jet lag detests fresh air, daylight, and exercise. Your body may be begging for sleep, but stand firm and deny it the opportunity to rest. Take a walk and discover the area around your accommodation to allow yourself to adjust to not only the local time zone, but the sights, sounds, smells and even temperature. If you arrive at 8am, for example, and you had the worst night’s sleep, the longest nap you should allow yourself is an hour, tops. Remember to set an alarm, and no snoozing allowed! The last thing you want is to be awake until the wee hours of the morning and begin a whole cycle of being exhausted the day after, unable to thoroughly enjoy the day’s itinerary.

Don’t be afraid to accept help

jet leg hacks

The body adjusts itself through a day-night cycle and the secretion of melatonin, which is why this magical pill is sometimes a lifesaver for many frequent travellers. The only trick to getting the most out of melatonin is when you consume it. The best is to wait until you arrive at your new time zone, then aim to take it in the afternoon, local time.

In one study, this technique combined with a gradually advancing sleep schedule and light exposure upon waking helped participants gain an extra hour each day, significantly curtailing jet lag. So how much should you take and for how long? 3mg about an hour before bedtime for three consecutive nights should do it.

About Author

Siti Zawani
Siti Zawani

Preferring her friends to call her Wani, this crazy cat lady's writing has always spoken more for her than speech itself. Her emotional relationship with food, fitness, relationships and travel keeps her constantly wide-eyed and inspired, while Netflix-ing on a rainy day has proved to be the best way to recharge her batteries.


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