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How to best overcome jet lag?

Do you have any recommendations against jet lag?

20 Answers

top answer by
Jason from Los Angeles

I attempt to transition to my destination's time zone as early as possible. Doesn't have to be an immediate shift. Sometimes I'll limit my onboard sleep, waking up while the lights are still out, to improve the likelihood of being able to get to sleep that night.

I like Anthony Bourdain's suggestion of avoiding food and drink on a plane. He says that's a great help for jetlag, and we all know that airplane food (and alcohol in general) are not going to make you feel better in the end. Depending on time, land hungry and eat immediately.

Remember the effect that screens can have on your system. If they turn the lights out but you don't want your body to register that it's sleep time yet, watch an engaging movie rather than reading a book. The difference in brightness and light quality can work in your favor.

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answered by
Liz from Winnetka, Illinois

It depends which direction you are going, but when I go from Chicago to Europe I try to sleep a little on the plane and then I sleep for no more than 2 hours when I arrive.  That usually helps alot.  I then set an alarm to get up so that I don't sleep until noon the next day.  There is an anti-jet lag diet you can try.  Just Google it.

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answered by
Valerie from Cardiff

Walk around a lot in the airport beforehand, drink lots of water/soft drinks/juice and walk around/do leg/foot exercises mid-air/ on the flight, go for a long walk if possible once you land/check in to your hotel.Then adjust to local time by eating/going to bed  at the same time as the locals. Good Luck and Bon Voyage!! 

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answered by
Ross from Fort Collins

I'm an insomniac, so I have it easy! I can easily just stay up until the time I that most people go to bed. Also hitting the bar works good, drink then pass out at the appropriate time lol.   

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answered by
Dave from California

Succumb to it by having a massage in the destination of your arrival :)

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answered by
Jörgen from Vaggeryd

I have a tip that works for me. I usually never sleep on the airplane, because I just can't. And on arriving I just adapt whatever local time in my destination. Eating according to time of day and go to bed according to time of day. Works great for me but might not work for everyone.

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answered by
Rui from London

Try booking your flight in a way that you arrive there during the day.

In my experience, what really messes us up is when we leave during the day and arrive at the destination in the morning as well. 

I also use the app "sleep cycle". It monitors your sleep and wakes up when it's convenient (lightest sleep stage). After 2 days, I'm usually back to normal.

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answered by
Kemkem from Malaga

In my personal experience, the best way to overcome jet lag is to adjust my sleep pattern for a few days before the flight. I go to sleep at the local time of the new place. By the time l arrive, my body has adjusted, and l am able to blend in time wise .

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answered by
laura from New Jersey

Going to Europe from the US try and stay awake as long as possible. If you must take a nap during the day limit your sleeping time to an hour at the most! And go to bed at your normal sleeping time.  

If you can do that the first day your trip will be so much more pleasurable. Good luck!

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answered by
Tina from Bainbridge Island

In addition to the old standbys, I swear by a homeopathic product called "No Jet-Lag." A friend who is a travel agent recommended it. The last time I traveled from Seattle to Dublin, I forgot to bring it and I was sorry! It definitely makes the first day in a new time zone bearable instead of feeling like I missed it entirely. Purchase it in travel stores or at airports. Happy travels!

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answered by
Jeff from Richmond

My method is always the same. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids and stay up very late the night before. Of course by liquids I mean alcohol and by stay up late I mean get no more than 4 hours of sleep. The only rules are you have to wake up on time and be functional enough to get to the airport and be allowed on the plane. For all of you who can't sleep well on a plane, this should solve that. You'll sleep like a baby even if you're in the middle seat (just make sure that when you wake up occasionally that you wipe the drool from your face). The best part is if you're leaning on other people, they'll actually prop you up to avoid having you invade their space. Once your about an hour away, wake up and go to the bathroom, get some orange juice, V8, water; it's probably best to get all 3. If you're lucky, the flight attendant will even bring you the last meal you missed. As you're coming back to life you'll realize people are so pleased to have you taking care of yourself, plus the fact that you look 10 times better, that they'll start treating you better. It's like they're glad you turned your life around and now they don't want to give you any negative vibes because that might influence you to go back to drinking. 

To get back on good terms with you row mates, just lean over and let them know that your brother or your best friend just had their bachelor party and they forced you to stay up too late with them (that way you can't be held accountable for any of your actions). 

Once you arrive to your desitnation the final rule is you have to stay up the entire day and go to sleep on their time. That night you'll sleep like a rock and the next day you'll wake up feeling like a local. 

Don't drink?  Fine, save all your packing for the night before just cut it down to a max. of 3 hours of sleep. You'll get the same desired results...drool included. 

All humor aside, I've used both methods many times to fly to Asia, Europe and S. America and it always works. Just make sure you pack your passport the night before. 

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answered by
Alexander from Stockholm

You can cheat with Viagra (

But a good way is to set your clock to your destination timezone as soon as you leave your home. Start eating breakfast, lunch and dinner after the new timezone. This way your body will change your "biological clock" faster.

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answered by
Ross from London

Melatonin - you can buy it in pill form at herbal shops or a chemist. Used to use it all the time!

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answered by
Darcy from Canada

Onnit 180 or just straight up Alpha Brain from Onnit Labs. And yes, drink as much water as you can stomach before and during your flight. I haven't tried it on any real long flights but for a 5 to 6 hour flight and even red eyes (i simply do not sleep on flights) i've had pretty good success.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Onnit Labs (attraction)
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answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

it all starts with booking your flight. Try to book an evening flight that leaves early evening so that you can eat and fall asleep as soon as possible on the plane. Also, the day before stay up and get a little sleep as possible so you will be tired that evening on the plane. As everyone else has suggested, when you get there get out in the sunlight and stay awake until it is bedtime at your location. I have found that these tips help me hit the ground running. If you are gone for more than a couple weeks, good luck when you get back. Its hard especially if you're gone for a month or so. You find yourself waking up at 2 o'clock in the morning, 3 o'clock in the morning, and trying to readjust.

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answered by
Michelle from Melbourne

There are lots of strategies. Personally, I've never been able to set my watch to the time zone I'll be landing in and try to change my sleep patterns en route to suit that - even by using sleeping tablets.

Fasting during a flight has never really made a difference to me, either.

When I travel long haul from Australia to Europe or to the US, I do what I can to rest during the flight and drink plenty of water. If I arrive early in the morning and there's the ability to have a snooze as soon as I get to the hotel, I set alarms/get wake-up calls so that I don't nap for more than an hour. I find this refreshes me and I then try to stay awake for as long as I possibly can that day. If I'm still wired at, say midnight, or wake up in the early hours of the following morning, I recommend a 'night time' headache tablet. In the US, something like Advil PM or Panadol Night Pain in the UK.

If I arrive somewhere in the afternoon, I try to get out into the fresh air and sunlight for a walk and then treat myself to a light meal and maybe a couple of drinks before I hit the bed.

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answered by

It's unfortunately a little boring what you have to do, but fasting during a flight and drinking only water has been proven to help quite a lot against jetlag.

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answered by
Rona from New York City

Change your watch as soon as you get on the plane. sleep on the plane if you can to pass the time. Stay awake to as close to normal bedtime as you can. melatonin works for me but not everyone. Helps me to fall asleep. A mild sleeping pill helps too, if you can get some from your doc. But most important is to force yourself to the new time zone a sap.

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answered first by
Ashley from Calgary

We always try to stay awake until local "bed time" so that we can get on a proper schedule, napping when we land usually makes everything worse! 

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answered by
Jon from Kalispell

book a session at the nearest float therapy spa.  it rejuvenates like nothing other..

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