5 great tips & tricks how to minimize jet lag symptoms

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After 16 hours long flight, I just wanted to sleep. Although the midnight had passed, my inner clock was set differently. I just came back from Mexico and my body was accustomed to completely different time zone. It was midnight, I was exhausted, but my body was saying it is not the time to sleep. For me, it was 5 pm. I was rotating in the bed until 5 am, cursing a jet lag.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag is a temporary disorder caused by a rapid change of time zones during the air travel. It is also known as time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis and it may cause insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headache and other physical and psychological symptoms. The intensity of the symptoms may vary according to person, a number of time zones changed and the way of travel.

For example, I have no problems changing even seven time zones when I travel from east to west, but backward I don’t sleep for days. They say body can adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two zones per day. I would agree with it in the case of eastward travel, but when you travel westward you can adjust much faster (in day or two tops).

Mexatia.com | Jet lag symptoms

However, if in the following days you have some important obligations, time zone change can be a real pain in the ass. It is definitely not easy to wake up at 7 am if you couldn’t fall asleep until 5 am. I read lots of advice how to survive the jet lag, but some of them are just not so easy to apply.

For example, they say you should start adjusting your body to the new time zone few days before the travel. Well, most of the people work or study and they cannot stay awake until 2 am just because they are traveling soon. Because I can’t take a vacation before the actual vacation, here are some tips what I do in order to minimize jet lag symptoms when I’m changing more than three time zones.

Tips how to minimize jet lag symptoms

1) Right after I am seated on the plane, I adjust my watch to the destination time. It helps me track how much hours of flight are left and adapt to new time since the beginning of a journey.

2) I drink a lot. I always carry a bottle with me and I fill it up with water after passing the security control at the airport, if the water is drinkable. I also buy some juice, soda or more water at the airport. I know it is ridiculously expensive, but nothing is worse than dehydration after the long flight. I don’t like to depend on the drinks in the plane and I always make sure I have something to drink with me. Do not drink too much coffee or alcohol, though. It will make things worse.

Mexatia.com | Jet lag symptoms3) Since I started to sleep very light on the plane, I asked my doctor to give me some sleeping pills I can use during the longer travels. Some people may not need it, but I found myself feeling even more terrible after not having almost nothing sleep during the flight.

On my way to Mexico, I took two pills short after the takeoff, completely forgetting the dinner is going to be served. The stewardess was three rows away from my seat with all the foods and drinks and somehow I managed to fall asleep before she reached me. 🙂 So be careful with the pills, you may miss your meal. I also found this pills which are supposed to make jet lag symptoms less present.

4) When I arrive at the destination, I always try to adjust to new time zone as soon as possible. That means staying awake longer while traveling west, or trying to sleep earlier while traveling east. Also, I adjust my meals and I try to eat light food full of proteins in the adequate time.

5) Take power naps. If you are super tired, there is no point in staying awake. Take a nap. I sleep maybe an hour or hour and a half what is enough to get some additional energy and go to bed at a normal time in the evening.

What do you do to avoid jet lag symptoms? Share your best tips and tricks.


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20 Discussion to this post

  1. Nam says:

    Yes! Staying hydrated and taking naps are definitely the way to battle jet lag. A lot of people adjust their time just before they touch down and I think it’s a good tip to do it asap. After all, you are going to spend time there soon!

  2. Christina says:

    Sleeping pills honestly help me SO much as well! I can never sleep on flights, so it’s nice to be able to get the rest I need and wake up feeling rested at my destination. Great post!

  3. Delaine says:

    I agree with the west to east thing. I was travelling from Washington DC to Dubai (14 hours) and I had trouble for a week. My body just wouldnt adjust.
    I actually picked up this drink from the Washington airport (sort of like a shot than induces sleep) and had it the moment i buckled myself up. You wont believe it, but I slept for 14 hours straight. Inspite of the, I was jetlagged!

  4. Sassy says:

    Love these tips! I always fly to the Philippines, so jet lag is a major issue. Will have to try your advice next time 🙂

  5. MARINA says:

    What I usually do is to book flights that land at night time…It doesn’t really matter if I had already slept on the plane (which I never do) because either way I’m tired of going up and down with the luggage, finding the hotel in an unknown city, etc… So I do always end up having an awesome sleep and waking up next day full of energy.

    • Lucky you, I often can’t sleep or I am waking up at 4 am in Mexico City, awake like I would be in Europe. Our next flight arrives at 5 pm at Mexico and I can already see how that’s going to end.. 😀

  6. There’s some really good tips here! The time when I’m flying confuses me so much I sit there working out what time it is and what time it actually is then get confused again haha, changing the time from the start would be way more helpful probably

  7. nomadepicureans says:

    Thanks for the post, I think these are actually valuable tips! I didn’t have too big a problem when going from Europe to India, but maybe it’s because the time difference is only about 5 hours? Also we landed around midnight, so I could basically just go to sleep immediately. Which I did, haha.


  8. Bonita says:

    Useful article. . There is a joke in my place about first time domestic travelers who complain of jetlag after a 30 minute flight!

  9. Brown Gal Trekker says:

    Nice tips. I’m wondering if age has any correlation with it? Somehow I dealt with it better when I was younger.

  10. I didn’t have any problems when travelling from Buenos Aires to London.. But I’ve just realized I will probably suffer jet lag in my flight from BA to Bangkok in February! Will use your tips 🙂

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