Tips for managing jet lag

@KateBrowne’s tips for managing jet lag will help you arrive more comfortably on your next big trip.

If you have any tricks, leave them in the comments below.

Having just returned from West Coast USA (two days ago!) I can provide a few tips of my own (I’m sitting cheerfully at my desk only mildly affected by jet lag!).

  • I always set my clock to my destination at take-off, this helps me plan out my naps on the flight so I am rested on arrival.
  • Check the available flight times when booking, and the time zone difference, so you can pick the best one for the time difference. I didn’t think about it this trip and booked an early flight to the US, forgetting the early LA flight keeps you up all day and then gets you in at 6am - a nightmare as you then have to stay awake all day on no sleep! My flight home (via SFO) however was excellent, leaves late at night and gets you in in the morning - I slept all night and felt fresh on arrival!
  • I drink plenty of water on the plane to keep me hydrated and I only eat the meals that line up with meals I’d have on the time zone I’m flying to (i.e. if you want to sleep on the plane so you’re fresh on arrival, don’t have a sugary hot chocolate or dessert in the middle of the night on flight!).
  • Plan a full day of activities when you arrive if you’re arriving early, if you’re arriving later, plan nothing. If you have a whole day on arrival, making plans really helps you stay up all day as you’re forced to get out and about. You’ll then be exhausted by evening and get a full night’s sleep without the temptation to have a “quick nap” in the hotel room.
  • Stay away from screens at night! If you think you’ll have trouble sleeping, don’t look at your phone in the middle of the night, no matter how tempting. It will only snap your body back into daylight and keep you up all night.

I also totally agree with “west is best”. Coming back from the USA is always so easy, but travelling there is a nightmare!

Fingers crossed my jet lag is over and done with this time around!


Two things I have found helpful. One is the use of melatonin ; take it the first night you arrive and may be the second. The other is to get to a place where you can see the horizon and scan your eyes across the horizon for 5 min .

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There’s a great App called “Jet Lag Rooster”. You type in the details of your trip, and let it know how you want it to manage your time zone adjustment (ie days before, on the plane, at your destination). It then gives you times to go to sleep, to help gradually get your body used to the new timezone. I used it successfully in our trip to Europe. Also, Melatonin is great to help you sleep, and Magnesium.


@nellycoo I’m going to have to check this one out - I’m headed away again at the end of the year (Kenya and China - multiple time zones in three weeks so I want to be on top of my game).

I’ll report back and let you know how I find it!

It’s been argued that cabin air pressure is a contributing factor. The air pressure inside the cabin in most aircraft is about 8000 feet. This is to reduce metal fatigue on the airframe amongst other things. So, at a cruising altitude of 30 000 feet the atmosphere inside the plane is the same as 8000 feet.

The thinner air inside the cabin means less oxygen gets into your lungs which can cause mild respiratory embarrassment. It’s a funny sounding medical term for your lungs working harder and you get tired. It’s basically a form of altitude sickness.

There’s been some research into cabin pressures and it’s my understanding that once you get down to 6000 feet or so, the problem goes away. That is: there’s no effective difference between 6000 and zero.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner with it’s carbon fibre composite fuselage, eliminates metal fatigue on the airframe! They’ve managed to get the cabin air pressure down to 6000 feet which they claim increases passenger comfort during flight.

My tip is to fly in one of these!



@ roony Agree!!

Just one minor point to note if you fly budget airlines. I have read from a source I think is reliable that JetStar (and I expect other budget airlines) do not want to carry the extra water to run the humidifier. As a result this aspect of the 787 advantage is not available but the higher pressure might be the main advantage anyway.