25 easy ways to beat jet lag

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Slide 1 of 26: Jet lag can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and your body clock confused. While there’s no instant cure for finding yourself in a different time zone, there are small actions you can take to reduce its intensity. Here are 25 ways to beat jet lag.
Slide 2 of 26: Prepping your body for jet lag can make a huge difference. If you're going somewhere that's three hours ahead, going to bed an hour later before you travel can help you adjust when you get there.
Slide 3 of 26: Some of us love to celebrate before heading out on a trip but if you need to hit the ground running when you arrive at your destination, have a night in. When you're jet lagged, you're already dealing with a sleep deficit so minimize this lack of rest by getting an early night.
Slide 4 of 26: If you're serious about your sleep cycle, consider which plane you'll be traveling in before you book. Newer planes are much more comfortable for passengers. The Airbus A350 and A380 have hi-tech humidification systems, meaning there is more moisture in the air and you’re less likely to exit the plane feeling dehydrated, so it will make it easier for you to get the necessary sleep.
Slide 5 of 26: Melatonin is the hormone your body produces to induce sleep, so if you have trouble sleeping on flights, taking melatonin tablets could help. They don't pack a punch like medicated pills but simply give the body a signal that it’s time to sleep.
Slide 6 of 26: Napping on long-haul flights helps reduce the sleep deficit you’ll feel the night of your arrival. But planning your naps is much more effective than just dozing off when you feel tired. If you wouldn’t lie in your own bed watching TV and eating snacks to get off to sleep, apply the same principles when sleeping on a plane.
Slide 7 of 26: The best part of flying is bingeing on the latest releases, but regulate what you watch and when. Save action-packed films for the beginning of your flight or when you wake up. Choose something feelgood and soothing before your designated nap.
Slide 8 of 26: Once considered an urban myth, studies have shown that flying east and west affect jet lag differently. Going east takes your body one day per hour of time zone change to realign, according to Dr Adrian Williams, the UK's first professor of sleep medicine. He adds, “Body clocks cope better when travelling west, often cutting this adjustment period in half.”
Slide 9 of 26: Anxiety and fear around flying can stop people getting to sleep, therefore aggravating jet lag. Mitigate any nerves by downloading a meditation app like Headspace, which will help calm your mind and aid a snooze. For other ways to copy with flying anxiety, read our helpful guide here.
Slide 10 of 26: You can already use your phone to check-in for your flight and save an electronic boarding pass; now you also can develop a jet lag plan. Input your journey to website Jet Lag Rooster and it'll plot a suggested sleep programme to help you adjust to your new time zone.
Slide 11 of 26: If you expose your body to light at the right time, you can reduce the impact of jet lag. So turn off any screens and pull down the blinds when you're meant to be sleeping. The type of light also makes a difference – blue light emitted by devices keeps you more awake so switch to nighttime mode as the light is softer and less jarring.
Slide 12 of 26: Tea and coffee are diuretics, so if you’re drinking a lot rehydrate with water. Another key culprit is salty snacks like potato chips and salted nuts. They're fine in small doses but are also dehydrating, which can worsen the physical effects of jet lag. On average, experts say you need to drink about 235ml (8 fl oz) of water per hour.
Slide 13 of 26: As much that glass of wine or beer with meals seems great, it’s a sure-fire way to disrupt sleep. Even if you think it may help you to doze off, the quality of sleep is a lot poorer than sleeping for shorter periods without alcohol.
Slide 14 of 26: Start getting into the right frame of mind by changing devices to the destination's time zone when you board the plane. It'll help to mentally adjust your body clock.
Slide 15 of 26: If you suffer badly from jet lag, tweaking your food choices on the flight might help. Indigestion is one of the physical symptoms of jet lag so opt for lighter meals rather than rich comfort food.
Slide 16 of 26: There are some amazing herbal teas with great sleep-inducing properties. Try chamomile, lavender, valerian root and lemon balm, or teas that contain a blend.
Slide 17 of 26: If you’re flying out of a major airport, chances are there'll be enough outlets to buy your own meals for the flight. On long-haul flights this can make a big difference to the severity of your jet lag, as it’s recommended that you start eating when you normally would in your destination's time zone. Most airlines start serving meals straightaway, which may not be right for your body clock. If you take your own food, you can control what you eat and when.
Slide 18 of 26: A coffee or tea when waking up is fine, but keep an eye on how much caffeine you're drinking on a long-haul flight during the day. If you consume soft drinks or energy drinks too close to your bedtime, it can prevent you from getting off to sleep.
Slide 19 of 26: Don’t be afraid to pack a sleep survival kit because you never know who you might be sitting next to. Take ear buds or noise-cancelling headphones for any screaming kids and always pack an eye mask to regulate light. If you've got space, bringing comfy sleepwear and a toothbrush and paste will also help make it feel more like your usual bedtime routine.
Slide 20 of 26: Those people doing power lunges down the middle aisle may look silly but they're onto something. Jet lag slows your circulation right down, which means you feel the physical impact a lot stronger once you land. Move around regularly and keep your circulation up.
Slide 21 of 26: Stopovers can make a huge difference in beating jet lag, allowing your body to rest between flights. This rings true especially for monster 22- to 24-hour flights such as London to Sydney or Auckland.
Slide 22 of 26: The key to reducing jet lag is adjusting to your new time zone as quickly as possible. Booking a flight which arrives in the day will jolt your body awake. Arriving at night may make you feel disorientated and drowsy.
Slide 23 of 26: After you land, buy a bottle of water as soon as you can to start rehydrating and keep hydrated for the next few days. It’ll help you stay sharper and more energized. Some people swear by electrolyte mixes such as Dioralyte.
Slide 24 of 26: When your body is in a state of fatigue, the last thing you might feel like doing is working out. But whether it’s going for a short run or doing a light impact workout in the hotel gym, studies have shown that exercise can help you synchronize your body clock quicker and recover from jet lag faster.
Slide 25 of 26: Sunlight positively impacts your body clock and helps it to adjust quicker. A Vitamin D boost from sitting in the sun will help clear a foggy, jet-lagged brain.
Slide 26 of 26: It can be tempting to pack in a lot of activities when you first arrive but give yourself a day to take it easy. Your jet-lagged brain and body will bounce back quicker.

Tips & hacks for avoiding jet lag

Adjust your bedtime

Don’t go out the night before you fly

Shop around for the right plane

Give your hormones a boost

Plan your naps

Pick your entertainment wisely

Traveling west or east does matter

Meditation soothes anxiety

Anxiety and fear around flying can stop people getting to sleep, therefore aggravating jet lag. Mitigate any nerves by downloading a meditation app like Headspace, which will help calm your mind and aid a snooze. For other ways to copy with flying anxiety, read our helpful guide here.

Plan your jet lag

You can already use your phone to check-in for your flight and save an electronic boarding pass; now you also can develop a jet lag plan. Input your journey to website Jet Lag Rooster and it’ll plot a suggested sleep programme to help you adjust to your new time zone.

Get the right light

Don’t overdo dehydrating drinks

Avoid alcohol

Change all of your devices to the new time zone

Go for the lighter food option

Take your own herbal teabags

Bring your own meals

Watch your caffeine intake

Take a sleep survival kit

Move around the plane

Plan a stopover

Arrive in the daytime

Buy a bottle of water once you land

Exercise on the day you land

Get plenty of sunshine

Ease off the sightseeing

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