Erin Hagen

10 Tips on How to Overcome Jet Lag

Traveling is for the brave. Conquering the airport maze alone is gold medal-worthy sometimes. Of course, then there’s the long haul flight and another airport to navigate through. Once you’ve finally crossed the exit line and reached your destination, that's when exhaustion sets in. Time zone hopping can be disorienting and jet lag doesn't help matters. In this article, we’ll list tips on how to overcome jet lag, and help you make the most out of your fabulous vacation, or business trip!

Avoid caffeine as much as possible

Now, let’s all calm down here, we are not suggesting that coffee lovers avoid their magic morning potion! That might promote all-out anarchy. By all rights, you will most likely need a cup of joe to fortify yourself for the trip to the airport while also preventing insanity. However, we recommend that you don't drink caffeine while at the airport or onboard your flight. OK, maybe in the morning, right before you land. Naturally, caffeine might keep you wired on the plane, and you need your beauty sleep after all!

Commit to your new time zone in advance

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the airport labyrinth, security checks, and the long wait. Now you’re seated on the plane and ready to set sail on a grand adventure. As soon as you sit down while watching others awkwardly file through and find their seats, set your watch and phone to the local time of your destination. Why? You are preparing yourself psychologically and getting in the zone. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one). For the next few hours, you will be hurtling through the sky in a metal machine at high speeds, which in itself is a marvel. Except for the passing of the drink and food trolley, the time has no meaning anymore. You are in the no man’s land of in-between, might as well enjoy the ride and think about where you're headed.

Try to get some Zzzs on the plane and be cosy

It may not be easy, but do try to get some shut-eye on the plane, especially if it’s a night flight. Neck pillows can help a lot with this because, as we all know, sleeping on an airplane is torturous. Of course, this might be easier said than done. Oftentimes airlines will provide eye masks. Just in case, you might want to bring your own. Earplugs are also a godsend, especially if there are tiny travellers aboard. Or if your neighbours feel like chatting. The horror. Since the cabins are cold, also dress in layers and bring a cuddly scarf or small blanket. Now that you're as comfy as you can be, swaddled, and both light and sound have been blocked out, hopefully, dreamland will arrive swiftly.

Resist the urge to nap at the other end

How to overcome jet lag? Resist napping at all costs because you will have an even harder time adjusting to the new time zone. We know, you’ve crossed oceans and hurdles and eaten terrible airplane food, surely a little nap won’t do any harm? Don’t let the siren song of sleep tempt you! Do yourself a favour and hold off for as long as you can. You can do it!

Take a shower

Ever notice how that airplane smell of recycled air gets into your clothes and hair? Ewww. After checking into your hotel or Air BnB, do yourself a solid and take a shower directly. Not only is it wonderful to wash off the travel grime, starting the day in a new country feeling fresh is the way to go. A shower is one of the best ways to wake up and re-energize! So hit the reset button, and start your day over again. Change your clothes and get on out there.


Keep it moving! That’s right, the only weapon against fighting the urge to get some much-needed sleep is putting one foot in front of the other and getting outside. The fresh air will do you a world of good. Also, the sunlight will help your body get in tune with the new surroundings. If you're wondering how to overcome jet lag, this is possibly the most important tip. Once you're out there, the destination city will stimulate your senses, and possibly distract you from the fact that you are totally exhausted. I’m not suggesting you run a marathon, or that you hit the Louvre as soon as you arrive from overseas, not at all. Just gently reminding you that a rolling stone gathers no moss, or some kind of proverb like that.

Wake up the next day at a normal time

You’re not in Kansas anymore, unless you’re traveling to Kansas that is. Try to stay awake for as long as you can in your new time zone. Though it’s not a big deal if you pass out after dinner time. But do set your alarm to wake up at a normal hour in the morning and stick to it! Not going to lie, the first morning may be kind of rough. Although being active is important, be gentle with yourself on your trip scheduling the first full day. Having one outing planned can be quite nice, but marching like a drill sergeant will wear you out even more.

What is melatonin?

People rave about this stuff while traveling, and the hype is real. Melatonin is the natural hormone found in our bodies that regulates sleep patterns. In pill form, it is used to help sort out irregular sleep schedules, insomnia, shift work, and jet lag. Otherwise known as: this stuff will knock you out. The online reviews are favourable. And having personally tried melatonin, it does work! Having said that, please speak with a healthcare professional before taking supplements or medication of any kind.

Keep hydrated

This goes without saying. Drinking lots of water at the airport, on the airplane and when you arrive is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself. The downside? Yes, there will be many trips to the bathroom. The upside, you won’t feel like a freeze-dried former version of yourself. Hydrating is always a good idea, and your voyage has put your body through a lot. So do yourself a favour and make h2o your friend. Cheers to your good health!

Eat small and healthy meals

We’re not talking about the loathsome airplane food here. Buying healthy snacks to take on the plane is a good call. Also, eating smaller and vitamin-rich food is key on the day that you arrive. Conversely, eating a heavy meal loaded with carbs might make you sleepy. Thus you will be more inclined to head back to your hotel early. Noooooo! We want to avoid that as much as humanly possible! Load up on veggies and fruits. Heck, throw a smoothie in there if you’re feeling ambitious. Also, if you’re travelling to France, we do recommend cheese at all times... because, France.

In conclusion

In closing, whether you need to stay alert for business meetings or want to maximise your dream vacation time, why not follow these tips on how to overcome jet lag like a champ? As an aside, and for the love of all that is sacred, please bring hand sanitizer with you while traveling. You certainly don’t want to be battling both a cold and jet lag at the same time, nobody has time for that. We’ve been there and it is morose.

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