Don’t give in to jet lag

It’s the scourge of flying and it seems everyone has a ‘cure’. But, really, what is jet lag, and what’s the best way to treat it?

Jet lag is the bone-crushing fatigue you feel when you’ve travelled across time zones.

Some people only suffer for a few hours, but for others it can be days, or even longer than a week.

Weirdly, your body will be less ‘confused’ if you travel towards the west. According to BetterHealth, this is because travelling west prolongs the body clock’s experience of its normal day-night cycle.

If you suffer badly from jet lag, it’s worth considering an east-to-west travel route to ease your transition to a new time zone.

And here are a few more tips to make sure you get the best out of your holiday.

Right on time

If it’s a short trip – a couple of days – try to stay as close to your normal routine as possible. This should quickly get you back on track when you get home.

If it’s a longer trip, you should do the opposite and try to change over to the local time as soon as possible.

Take note of the local time on your flight and plan your day of meals and sleeping at your destination accordingly, or at least until you conk out.

Chill out

Some people refuse to believe in jet lag, some people take days to recover.

Give yourself a break if you aren’t on track with the local time as soon as you would like. Adding any stress to the situation is only going to make it worse.

Nap time

If you are tired and must have a nap, make it short. Try for no longer than 30 minutes and not less than four hours before you go to bed.

Caffeine vs alcohol

If you must drink either of these depending on your desired outcome, keep it to a minimum.

Neither of them provides a good night’s sleep.

Pill popper

If you do feel medication is the only answer, once again, keep it to a minimum. And be aware that some sedatives are illegal in some countries, so check the laws for your destination.

Nothing kills the holiday mood like spending a few days in detention before being smartly deported.


Instead of prescription medication, why not try melatonin instead? It’s readily available in Australia these days and your pharmacist should be able to help you choose a suitable dose.

Get outside

Seeing sunlight is important to sleeping well.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, when your eyes sense daylight, they send signals to the brain which resets your body clock every day. Our bodies do this so we don’t ‘drift’ out of rhythm with the environment.

This can take several days, so better to start early.

Move it

Do some exercise. It may be the last thing you want to do, but tuckering yourself out goes a long way towards ensuring your head hits the pillow and stays there.

But not too close to bed time, all that energy you have worked up will simply extend the time it takes to nod off.

How do you cope with jet lag? Do you use any of these tips? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Look out for these travel scams

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -