Natural cures for jet lag

Here are five of the best ways to escape the perils of jet lag on your next international journey.

man desperate for a cure 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!


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


    To make a comment, please register or login
    30th Jul 2016
    You missed the number one way to beat jet lag Sue: sleep....don't watch the movies, don't read and don't do crosswords. Sleep is guaranteed to work.
    For the record the food is never great but not all that bad in most cases.
    Old Dog
    30th Jul 2016
    Recently flew economy with Cathay Pacific. Sydney-Hong Kong-Vancouver and later, return. Flights, although long, were great and best still the food was first class for economy class (well, you know what I mean). It was great. Hot when it should have been and very tasty.
    I have flown with a couple of other airlines in the not too distant past (United, Delta) and on one in particular the food was almost inedible.
    30th Jul 2016
    Be aware, there is an added stress now when flying, contributing to jet lag. I have had a few people mention to me that they never used to suffer jet lag and now do. When I asked them if there was wifi available on the flight the answered in the affirmative. I had the same experience when I last flew and there was wifi on board for the first time.
    30th Jul 2016
    It's a bit hard to avoid the plane food on a 24 hour journey - SYD-SIN-LHR, or SYD-HKG-LHR. I usually travel in business class. I know it's expensive, but all the better for having a great sleep when I need it, and it's better for my disability being able to sleep flat. The food is great, too, usually requesting special meals will do the trick. I don't eat some foods due to allergies.

    Yes, water is my drink of choice, even if I'm not travelling. Cannot have caffeine or alcohol, anyway.
    31st Jul 2016
    Surely you are not suggesting people don't eat for the 24 hours it takes to get to the places where jet lag is an issue - like uk. Don't eat too much sure but not at all? Not sensible.
    31st Jul 2016
    After doing some 200 flights, I suggest the best way to re-synch your body clock is to watch sunsets and sundowns after you arrive. Sleep and no alcohol help a lot

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