How To Beat Jet Lag

Earlier this week, ran an article on jet lag.

Ginger tea is thought to be a good way to counteract jetlag. Here’s a quick recipe:

  • Boil water.
  • Grate two teaspoons of fresh ginger (much better than powdered ginger) into a cup.
  • Add boiling water.
  • Allow to steep for five minutes.

Ideally you should drink it at the start of your trip, an hour before you take off, but often that’s not possible. Instead, you might take a small piece of fresh ginger to chew on the plane – but beware, it’s hot and spicy!

I didn’t know that about ginger tea. You can read the whole piece over at The tips come from the book The Lonely Planet Book of Everything by Nigel Holmes.

There’s only one strategy that has significantly worked well for me when trying to combat jet lag. As soon as I board the plane, I set my watch to my destination’s time and try to get on that schedule. Sometimes that means I don’t do what the airline staff want me to do. Many long overseas flights are overnight. They turn off the lights in the plane and want you to go to sleep, as you might normally, but that’s not always a good idea. The sooner I begin resetting my internal clock, the better I feel when I arrive.

When I arrive, I keep to the local schedule. Often I’m tired because it’s likely that I’ve just missed hours of sleep, but napping would only prolong the jet lag. If it’s daytime, I might not have my regular amount of energy so I’ll take it easy. I may take a bus tour, visit a market, or a park – staying active and being in the sun both help. That night, I’ll likely go to bed an hour or two earlier than normal, but I feel fine when I wake the next day. And no jet lag.

It’s worth noting that jet lag is personal. The speed at which the body adjusts to the new schedule depends on the individual. While I experience little disruption, others may require several days to adjust. We tend to think of jet lag as disrupting our sleep as we experience daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms our bodies are accustomed to, but jet lag can also affect eating, body temperature, and hormone regulation, which can all lead to fatigue, irritability, headaches, and indigestion.

Do you suffer from jet lag? How do you experience it? Any tips to beat it?




  1. I’m on day three of jetlag (UK > US) and am finally there. Going easy on myself is the best way to gradually reset and adjusting my sleep schedule a little each day. Interestingly, when my kids were under the age of 3, they never experienced jet lag but as soon as they turned 3, it hit.

    • Those are pretty bad. I think the reason I may not be so affected flying US-Australia is because it’s more north-south rather than east-west. I wonder what it is in child development that seemed to affect them more when they were a little older. Interesting. Thanks for your comments!

  2. I find west to east the hardest to deal with. My worst experience of jetlag occurred flying from Melbourne to Boca and returning to work the next day. My sleep cycle was destroyed to the point that I became so sleep deprived I couldn’t sleep. I resorted to medication for the first time in my life.
    Generally, I cope well. As long as I have a few days to adjust in my own way, I’m fine. I just find I get tired more readily.

    • Taking some time to get it together is important. I don’t think I could go back to work the next day after a big journey like that. I don’t know how business travelers do it all the time.

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