Preventing jet lag
Jet lag can’t be prevented, but you can try some strategies that may reduce its effects.
Some of these strategies have been studied in laboratory simulations of jet lag, but haven’t necessarily been tested on people experiencing jet lag after real flights.
Before you travel
Change your sleep routine a few days before your departure – if you’re travelling east, try going to bed an hour earlier than your usual time, and if you’re travelling west, try to go to bed an hour later; the idea is to “prime” your sleeping routine with your destination in mind.
Get enough sleep before you travel – flying when you’re tired may make the jet lag feel worse
During the flight
Drink plenty of fluids – ensure you’re well hydrated before, during and after your flight.
Rest during the flight – take short naps.
Limit your caffeine consumption – avoid drinking too many caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and cola, and avoid drinking them within a few hours of planned sleep.
Avoid alcohol – eat light meals and avoid drinking alcohol as it can make the symptoms of jet lag worse.
Keep active – when flying long distances, take regular walks around the cabin and stretch your arms and legs while you’re sitting down; this will also help reduce your risk of developing a potentially serious condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Change your watch to match the time of your new destination – this will help you adjust to your new time zone more quickly.
Try to get some sleep if it’s night time when you arrive at your destination. You may find using ear plugs and an eye mask useful.