Advice on How to Avoid, Prevent
& Recover From Jet Lag

Airplane Sunset Clouds Jet Lag Expert

Jet Lag May Be the Only Downside to an Overseas Adventure

Jet lag is the term that describes how your body feels when you travel over multiple time zones. The most common symptoms of jet lag include tiredness during the day, inability to sleep at night, loss of appetite, and irritability. It can take your body up to 24 hours to adjust for each time zone you cross, so here are a few suggestions for minimizing the effects of jet lag.

What to Do Before You Fly to Avoid Jetlag

  • Adjust Your Sleep Try to adjust your sleeping and eating times an hour or two towards your destination. If you’re traveling west, eat and sleep later in the day, if you’re traveling east do these things a bit earlier.
  • Get the Gear An eye mask and earplugs can allow you to rest peacefully during the flight. Earplugs also prevent tinnitus, the ear ringing many people experience following hours of roaring engine noise. A neck pillow will help prevent neck pain and encourage sleep. A neck pillow can also help keep your head from bobbing as you fall asleep. Self-adhesive heating pads provide continuous warmth to relieve back pain, stiff neck, and aching shoulders.
  • Take Your Vitamins In order to avoid contracting an illness while flying it is a good idea to start taking a multivitamin a few days before your flight. As always, consult with your physician before taking any new supplements. Pack some sugar-free chewing gum and a saline nasal spray too, these will keep your sinuses moist and help you to avoid catching a cold.

What to Do During a Long Flight to Avoid Jetlag

Traveling to Europe involves a lengthy transatlantic flight so it is important to make it as comfortable as possible to help avoid jet lag.

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing. If your legs or feet tend to be uncomfortable sitting for a long time at home, consider compression socks for comfort. Also, don’t cross your legs as this will cut off your circulation
  • Stay Hydrated! It is easy to become dehydrated while flying. One of the easiest things to do to avoid this is to drink plenty of water and juice. Try to avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages as they can dehydrate you and make your jet lag worse.

  • Eat Smart Pressurized cabins can affect your gastrointestinal system. Dehydration and lack of activity can often result in post-flight constipation. To minimize the chance of experiencing irregularity avoid eating gas-producing foods before the flight, pack high fiber snacks and eat light meals on board the plane.

  • Move around as much as possible to keep up your circulation. Blood clots are a serious health threat on long flights. Force yourself to get up and move around the cabin on a regular basis. If you are drinking plenty of water, this shouldn’t be a problem as you will need to get up and use the restroom regularly. It’s also a good idea to flex your legs and rotate your ankles while seated and if you have a layover spend it walking through the airport.

What to Do During an Overnight Flight to Avoid Jetlag

If you are taking an overnight flight you will definitely want to try to sleep on a schedule to match your destination's time zone(s). While it can be difficult to get decent sleep on a flight, even a short nap will make a big difference in your recovery time. 

The Best Ways to Survive a Long Flight

How to Get Over Jetlag the First Days of a Vacation

  • Remain active the day you land, if you do nap only do so for 30 minutes, any longer will make your jet lag worse. 
  • If it’s daytime when you arrive at your destination, spend as much time outside as you can. Exposure to sunlight will help your brain adjust to the new time zone.
  • Go to bed at the same hour you would at home
  • Let the adrenaline rush of being in a foreign place keep you awake until after supper time.
  • Having a high-protein breakfast will help with alertness.
  • Exercise, like a brisk walk, will get your blood flowing and make you feel more awake. Exercising in the evening, a few hours before bed, will also help to tire you out so that you sleep better.
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