How to cope with Jetlag

How to cope with Jetlag

Jetlag is likely to be something that everyone experiences at some point during their lives, particularly if you are travelling a long way, and into a completely different time zone. Anyone who has experienced jetlag before will know that it is a feeling of tiredness and confusion, when you have been travelling on a long flight. It can take a while to adjust to a new time zone, which can also affect your appetite, digestion, bowel habits, urine production, body temperature and blood pressure. Because of this, it is important that you try and help yourself, so when you get to your destination you can simply relax and enjoy your time there. Here are just a few tips on how you can help yourself cope with jetlag…

1)  Make sure you get enough sleep the night before

woman sleeping

Many travellers are tempted to stay awake the night before they travel, particularly if they have to travel early in the morning; however, this is one of the worst things that you could do. Try and get as much sleep as you can the night before, as this will make you feel refreshed for your journey, even if you are getting an early flight. 

2) Plan well

plane landing

If you are going somewhere for an event, for example a wedding, plan your trip so that you arrive a few days before the big function, allowing your body enough time to adjust. Whilst this does not directly help you to avoid the inevitable jetlag you will experience, it does mean that you can properly enjoy the reason that you are going out there for. If it is a holiday, try not to plan big trips in the first few days, so you can give yourself enough time to find a new routine.

3) Stay hydrated

drinking water

Before and during your flight it is so important to stay hydrated. Arriving at your destination dehydrated will open up a whole load of other problems that could have been so easily avoided. Drinking water will make sure you are alert and awake, and look fresher. As tempting as it may be to hit the miniatures on the plane, particularly if you want to get into the holiday mode, don’t do this in place of water. 

4)  Adapt during your flight

time zones

As soon as you get settled on the plane, change your watch to that of your destination. This is particularly effective if your flight is a long one, as you can mentally prepare yourself for the time difference and it will not be so much of a shock when you leave the plane. Try if you can to sleep on the plan if it is night time and to stay awake if it is day time. However; if you are struggling, do not force yourself to do either as this can actually have the opposite effect. Listen to your body and understand what it needs at that time. 

5) Minimise sleep distractions

eye mask

Most flight providers will give you an in-flight pack, so make the most of it. Use the ear plugs and the eye mask to minimise any distractions that could be keeping you awake, particularly if you are a light sleeper. If you do not receive a pack, or would prefer your own, make sure you have packed these in your hand luggage in an easily accessible area.

6) Avoid caffeine during your flight

coffee beans

Try and stay away from caffeine during your flight, particularly if you know you will be landing at night. Instead, try and stick to water and fruit juices. Whilst downing cups of coffee might sound like best solution to staying awake, it could end up making yourself feel a lot worse when you actually land and need to try and sleep. Again, it’s all about listening to your body and giving it what it needs, and if you need to sleep on the plane, do so. 

7) Move around

plane seats

If your seat allows you too, try and get up and move around on your flight. This has many benefits, as it can reduce risk of forming a blood clot, as well getting your blood circulating, making you feel more awake. We have all been in a situation where we have been sitting around doing nothing all day, and actually end up feeling more tired than we would have would have done had we been active. So, if you are not sleeping on your flight, try and move around every 30 minutes or an hour to keep your blood circulating properly.

8) Make sure you eat properly


When you arrive at your destination, make sure you are eating properly. Stick to having three meals a day at the correct time. Not only will this help settle you into a routine, but it will also make you feel more human after a long flight. Try and wake up when it is breakfast time, and ensure that you have a proper evening meal if you arrive in the afternoon. 

9) Establish a new routine as soon as you arrive

arriving at airport

After a long flight, it is so tempting to have a nap as soon as you arrive at your accommodation. Whilst it is incredibly important to listen to your body, and give it what it needs, do try and avoid napping, as this will help you to sleep at night, getting you into a routine quicker. Many people stay on their home time, rather than trying to establish a new routine. If you are there for longer than a couple of days, you will need to make sure your body adapts to the new time zone, and the quicker you can do that, the better.

10) Spend time outside

sunny beach


It is no secret that the sunshine has a mood boosting effect on people, so spend as much time as you can outside when you first arrive. Not only will it help you adapt to the time zone, as you will have an idea of the time of day, but it will naturally make you feel more awake and alive which is exactly what you need after a long flight. If you want an extra boost, take a travel sun lamp with you. 

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