Beating jet lag is often on the mind of most frequent flyers once it’s too late. Jet lag not only makes us cranky and puts our lives in a blur, but it can completely ruin short trips abroad.

Because everyone’s body functions differently (as well as their travel circumstances), there’s no single cure for jet lag. But don’t fret, among these tried-and-true methods is something for everyone.

How To Beat Jet Lag

Getting In Late: Not always within our control, scheduling a flight that arrives to your destination in the evening (local time) can help curb the symptoms of jet lag.

Once you arrive, eat something light and head to bed.  Sure, there’s still a time discrepancy, but there’s a good chance your body will be tired enough to forget about it, and fall right into local time.

No Caffeine Until…: We often try to drink as much caffeine as possible before and during our flights to keep us sharp, but that can intensify jet lag.

A nice little trick is to avoid caffeine a couple days before-flight and during-flight, and only once you’ve landed hit the cafe. This will give you a nice boost so you can stay awake long enough to transition to local-time.

Don’t Nap: A 5-minute cat nap is no problem, but if you start taking the whole afternoon to sleep, you’re gonna find yourself in a world of trouble.

Fight the urge to nap with a nice long walk. Fresh air does wonders for the jet-lagged.

Hydrate: Travel has a great way of dehydrating you fast.

With the change in air-pressure, and the stressors of running around, your energy (through dehydration) can quickly become zapped. Staying hydrated will help alleviate some the physical aches of jet lag.

Avoid Alcohol: Avoiding alcohol falls in line with staying hydrated. Alcohol will not only dehydrate you but it will increase fatigue and headaches.

Natural Sleep Aid: I’m not a fan of pharmaceuticals, so if I am absolutely in a pinch I only like to turn to natural sleep aids.

Melatonin is a naturally occuring hormone that helps control sleep cycles. The supplement I’ve linked to also contains the vitamin B6, which helps regulate the release of melatonin.

Tips

  • Invest in a pair of ear plugs and a sleep mask, the last thing you want is to be awoken just as you’re about to doze off.
  • Make sure 48 hours before take-off, you are well-rested and have taken care of packing and planning. This will help to limit stress.
  • Sleeping/staying awake on the plane should be dependant on the local time of where you’re arriving. If where you’re going the locals are asleep while you’re on the plane, then sleep. If they are awake, stay awake.
  • Remember, beating jet lag is all about effective planning. If you take some time to figure out the time zone you’ll be arriving to, you can figure out a schedule to optimize sleep – and limit jet lag.