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Travel Tips-How To Avoid Jet Lag

Updated on February 17, 2011

Simple Tips To Reduce or Completely Avoid Jet Lag


Travel Is Fun Without Jet Lag

Travel is fun when you know that you are going to a destination you love and that you will enjoy your holiday. Air travel is the most preferred across the globe as almost every corner of the world is close to some major airport, and your travel time is cut so you get to enjoy your vacation at your destination of choice at leisure. If you need to attend an important meeting on arrival, you must take all precautions and be in ship shape when you get there. Can't stand up a client citing jet lag as an excuse.

It is common to hear people traveling frequently across continents to complain of jet lag. So what really is jet lag and why must it be avoided? Being aware of the effects of jet lag, one can take necessary precautions so that it does not interfere with your schedule on arrival.

Air travel cuts your travel time across continents, but the human body needs to adjust to the various time zones it passes through. The various physiological changes that occur in response to the rapid change in time zones causes jet lag. Whether you are an occasional flyer, or a pilot that is required to fly frequently, you will experience the same degree of jet lag. Common symptoms include headache, irritability, fatigue, swollen limbs, irregular bowel movements and disorientation.

Tips To Reduce or Completely Avoid Jet Lag

If you have planned your travel early, you will have a few days to prepare for the flight. Since it is our body that must get accustomed to the various changes it is going to be subjected to, you can slowly introduce habits and increase the frequency so as to acclimatized.

  • Travel westwards to minimize the effects of jet lag. Jet lag is felt more when you fly from west to east.
  • Start getting used to the new time zone by making small changes in your sleep pattern to match that of your destination. Beginning a week in advance, adjust your bedtime by an hour each day. This is the most important of all tips to reduce the severity of jet lag.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the flight. Drinking plenty of water before and after the flight also helps you stay calm and fresh. Dehydration makes jet lag worse.
  • Food served on flights can be tempting but stick to a light diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid greasy and heavy food. And strictly avoid overeating. Eat only when hungry.
  • Shun alcohol and caffeinated beverages during the flight. These cause dehydration which in turn makes jet lag worse.
  • During the daytime flight, talk to fellow passengers or read a book or a magazine, listen to music or watch a movie to keep yourself awake.
  • Sleep during the night time flight. Make sure you sleep well. If you find this difficult, wear an eye-mask, or listen to soothing music. This might help you drift off to the much needed sleep.
  • Exercise in midair. Frequently get out of your seat and walk along the aisle when the fasten your seat-belt sign is off. This will prevent your legs becoming swollen.
  • Do body stretches before and after the flight.
  • If upon arrival your destination is experiencing daylight, soak in the sun wearing sun glasses and stick to the time schedule of that city for eating, sleeping,etc. All this minimizes the effects of jet lag.

Taking care to begin adjusting your body before the actual flight helps in fighting fatigue and jet lag on your travels. You will arrive at your destination with energy for your task ahead or to enjoy your holiday.

Did you consume caffeinated beverages or alcohol on a long distance flight? Was jet lag a result of that?

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    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This was a very useful hub! You've described lots of methods to help reduce jet lag. Thanks for the information.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 6 years ago from Illinois

      You are so right. Traveling from coast to coast in the US will give you a jet lag.