Natural cures for jet lag

When it comes to jet lag, people usually fall into two camps – those who are resigned to the fact that it’s the nature of travelling, and the fighters who will do everything in their power to avoid it. While the jury’s still out on whether you can ever truly dodge jet lag, there is more and more research emerging on the best ways to try and avoid it.

The ideal solution would be to cure jet lag naturally, without resorting to medicines such as stimulants and sleeping pills. After years of travelling and long-haul flights, particularly given I now live in London, I’d like to consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. Here are five of the best ways to escape the jaws of jet lag on your next international journey.

Water, water everywhere
I know it may sound incredibly boring but drinking plenty of water is hands down the best way to avoid the dreaded symptoms of flight fatigue. With the average human body consisting of approximately 70 per cent water, dehydration from flying can be incredibly taxing on your body. Make sure you drink water consistently throughout your journey including before and after the actual flight. Carry a water bottle at all times and, if you find water boring, try flavouring it with lemon, mint, fruit or herbal tea.

man drinking water on a plane hoping to avoid jet lag

Say no to short term solutions
Also known as alcohol, coffee and sleeping pills. I know this is an unpopular suggestion, but trust me when I say it’s for your own good and will only help in your plight to avoid jet lag. Having just been (or about to be) thrown into a completely different time zone, your poor body is trying desperately to find its feet. While coffee may give you a short-term burst of energy, it will subsequently leave you crashing down and even worse off. The same goes for alcohol, which is not easy for your body to process and only gives it more work to do. If you must have some form of caffeine opt for green tea, which is at least packed with antioxidants. 

Don’t eat the plane food
Let’s be honest, not only does plane food leave a hell of a lot to be desired, consistently eating on a long-haul flight isn’t that good for you either. Your digestive system plays a big role in setting your internal clock. Make sure you eat lightly before your departure, and opt for fresh fruit or salad during the flight (avoid any heavy dressings). If you get hungry try to drink more water instead of automatically reaching for food. Plan to have a decent meal once you’ve arrived at your destination and avoid having a large meal late at night or before bedtime as this will affect how well you sleep.

Keep moving
Exercise is a sworn enemy of jet lag. While it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you reach your destination, getting out and about for a fast walk or hitting the gym is a great way to ward off the ‘crash’. Same goes for the first morning at your new destination, when you will likely wake at the crack of dawn. Rather than lay in bed trying to go back to sleep, get out and make the most of the morning before everyone else is up. There’s something quite magical about witnessing a foreign place as it wakes up. For an added bonus, is dawn and sunset offer the best lighting for photos!

Related articles:
Five flight survival tips
Jetlagged? There’s an app for that
How flying affects your body


SJ is a regular travel contributor to YourLifeChoices. Her dream is an endless summer where bikinis are work appropriate attire.

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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