A complete guide to beating jet lag so you can travel to the fullest

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By Carmen Chong

Featured images: Zachary Kadolph / Unsplash
A complete guide to beating jet lag so you can travel to the fullest

Jet lag is really the worst. Not only does it cut into actual vacation time (time that you’re probably banking on to live your best life), it also diminishes productivity and the motivation for us to do things.

But, how does jet lag even become a thing? When you’ve hopped on a plane ride long enough that it crosses at least two time zones, you’ll most likely be faced with jet lag at your new destination.

Photo: Jeshoots / Unsplash

According to Mayo Clinic, jet lag symptoms usually only hit within one or two days after making such a trip, and at the minimum, it takes at least one day to recover from its adverse effects for each time zone crossed.

While you can’t avoid jet lag completely, there are definitely some tips that you can apply to get yourself to adapt to your new schedule way more quickly and minimise those jet lag symptoms so you can truly, madly, and deeply enjoy your travels. Check them out below.


Pre-flight groundwork

Photo: Pixabay

Tip 1: Plan your sleep schedule ahead of time. 

One thing you can do before the big flight takes a bit of commitment, but it surely pays off. Try adjusting your targeted bedtime and wake-up time towards your new time zone by roughly 15 minute increments daily. We get it—it can be complicated to compute in your head, but that’s why apps like Timeshifter are handy. What the app does is compare your regular circadian rhythm to that of a different time zone, and then offer you practical tips you can implement depending on your destination.


Tip 2: Get enough rest.

Another crucial thing to remember is to also be very well-rested before flying! Plan ahead and keep your schedule relatively clear so you can keep at least 48 hours before the flight sacred. This means lots of undisturbed rest and mental peace before you’re swamped with a sensory overload at your new destination.


Throughout the in-sky commute

Photo: Unsplash / Suhyeon Choi


Tip 3: If you don’t sleep well anywhere else besides your bed, avoid overnight flights.

Red-eye flights are almost always cheaper than others, but do avoid them should you be able to. You most likely won’t be able to get proper sleep, and it’ll be disrupted due to the meal services as well as unruly passengers in general.


Photo: Cottonbro studio / Pexels

Tip 4: If you can sleep during flights, make sure you do!

For those who are serious about getting sleep on the plane, eliminate as many distractions as possible. Don’t put on that romcom you’ve been dying to watch, or pull out your laptop to work. Instead, ensure you have an eye mask and earplugs, and try to position yourself so you’re as comfy as possible. This can also mean choosing a window seat so you’re further away from the aisle.


Tip 5: Drink enough water. 

It’s very important to stay hydrated at all times throughout the flight. Proper hydration will help your body cut down on travel fatigue. Always bring a refillable bottle with you on any trip so you can fill it in at the terminal and have an additional supply of water on hand just in case.


New destination readiness


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Tip 6: Take it easy at first. 

Obviously, the first thing you probably want to do upon landing at your new destination is to drop your bags and head out right away for some exploration. That said, we recommend taking it easy, especially on the first day. Give yourself a day to learn about your new bearings, recover from your flight, and stay nourished so your body softens the jet-lag blow.


Tip 7: Avoid alcohol.

It’s surely tempting to go for a nightcap once you land or revel in some nightlife right after you land, but alcohol is a bad idea that will only dehydrate your body and further throw your sleep into disarray. If you must, limit yourself!


Photo: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels


Tip 8: Nap if you have to. 

The sun has a huge impact on our circadian rhythms whether we like it or not, and that includes our body clock, sleep, and alertness. If you arrive at your new destination as the sun comes up, don’t step outside right away to start your day. Instead, catch a little nap to help your body adjust.


Tip 9: Ensure proper sleep hygiene. 

Finally, when it comes to actually sleeping at the right time as per your new time zone, make your sleep space as conducive as possible. Whether it is asking for softer or firmer pillows at your hotel, taking melatonin, using essential oils, or listening to a meditation, do whatever it takes to help you get a good night’s sleep. It’ll really go a long way.

Happy travels!



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