5 Ways to Get Over Jet Lag Quickly

How to get back on your feet in no time flat.


Traveling is my passion. Jet lag is not. After all, we all want to look gorgeous and put-together as we step off the plane and greet our foreign friends. Red-eye aside, what’s worse is that every time I travel and the time changes, so does my internal clock! I’ve spoken with doctors, herbalists, traveling business women and men, yoga gurus, you name it. Everyone has an opinion on what to do, and what jet lag is.

5 Ways to Get Over Jet Lag Quickly

Let’s look up JET LAG in the dictionary.

Jet’lag/, n. — a temporary disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms after high-speed air travel through several time zones. jet’ lagged’/, adj.

OK, this isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, or experienced, right? So, from a medical standpoint. What is jet lag?

“Circadian rhythmus” is our bodies’ natural time clock. It runs on a 24-hour basis, like time. Now that’s convenient! If you travel to Arizona from Los Angeles, you’re OK. Jet lag doesn’t really kick in. But as you approach the rest of the country, and as the time change grows, your body’s timer stays either ahead or behind.

So how do we combat this? I have consulted several people and have put together some simple tips, including my own, to help you stay as “lag free” as possible:

Tip #1:

Find out the time change ahead of time. I try to adjust my sleep habits about a week before I leave. I start with either going to bed a half hour earlier or later each night until I’m on the same time zone as the place I’m going to visit. This may put a cramp in your social life, but my motto is pay for it 50% now, than 100 thousand percent later.

Tip #2:

You may find out last minute that you will be leaving on the next red eye for an emergency business meeting. My favorite flight is a red eye. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to get complete rest “en aire,” but I find that my favorite beanie bag neck pillow really helps (the ones that are shaped like the letter “U” and my matching eye mask)…it’s true! It helps. I also wear super comfy and loose clothing and drink plenty of water and chamomile tea.

5 Ways to Get Over Jet Lag Quickly

I have been told to “caffeine out” or “have a drink” for sleep, but I find that it only makes matters worse. You swell, dehydrate, or worst of it all, constipation!

The cabin is usually dark and quiet. If the plane isn’t full, you can usually find some extra seats to lie down on and stretch out. Most people aren’t aware of this travel secret and red-eye flights aren’t as booked. AH HA! Sleep as much as you can on your flight, but wake yourself up or have the flight attendant wake you at least an hour before you land, so you’re not groggy when you arrive at your meeting.

Tip #3:

Be careful what you eat on the airplane. You know what airplane food is like. Although some may tout it, YUCK! OK…just “plane” (haha) and simple YUCK! I always try to order ahead of time, a low sodium, vegan meal, or bring my own aboard. There have been studies about whether you should eat or not to eat but, basically, there isn’t much proven in either opinion. Try to remember what you feel like after you eat lightly, or after a heavy pasta meal on the ground. Pretty much, it’s the same in the air, just amplified. Pasta will slow you down and make you tired, because it is a carbohydrate. Vegetables are easily-digestible protein, which feeds your system to give it energy.

Here are a few natural Jet-Lag-beating aids:

  1. Melatonin. We naturally have levels of this substance in our bodies. When the levels rise in your body, it promotes sleep. Taking additional Melatonin, in gelcap form, raises the levels in your system, hence nighty-nite. Again, to me, this is a last resort because, like caffeine, it messes with your time clock.
  2. Vitamin B12 for energy. Potassium and Vitamin C are important at any time in someone’s diet and on the plane it is especially important to replenish your system due to altitude, immunity and overall well being.
  3. Aromatherapy. Consult your local herbalist or vitamin stores as well as places that specialize in aroma therapy. There are smells that help awake you and your senses and calm you and your senses, such as lavender and citrus, for example.
  4. Water! I cannot express this enough. Learn it, love it, live it! Drink it by the gallons, mist it on your face, towel your neck. Just do it! Plain and simple.

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Avatar of Stefanie Michaels

Stefanie is a professional travel writer and self described “Adventure Girl”. Based in LA, and charged by the smell of jet fuel, our travel expert continues to travel the world seeking out unique and interesting adventures to share with viewers for such shows as CNN, UPN, ABC and NBC. Her writings have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Razor, FW, and The New York Times. Her quote to live by comes from Amelia Earhart, “If someone asks you on an adventure, don’t refuse it!”

Reader Discussion: 118 Comments

  1. Avatar of Johnnie Bradford

    Johnnie Bradford

    I always bring my neck pillow and eye mask to have a good sleep on the plane.

  2. Avatar of Ofelia Ruley

    Ofelia Ruley

    Is there any medicine? Like a tablet, or capsule? I’m experiencing jet lag right now, I need one.

  3. Avatar of Doreen Morales

    Doreen Morales

    I’m going to Taiwan, and we are 12 hours behind from them. If I get there by 12nn, I should be sleeping here at 12mn. I am having a hard time, especially this is my first time. I hope your tips are effective.

  4. Avatar of Hachi Komatsu

    Hachi Komatsu

    Thank you for making informative articles. I hope you make more! I love your magazine! ❤

  5. Avatar of Maxine Ford

    Maxine Ford

    There are times that I have jet lag, but there are times that I don’t have. Is that okay?

    • Avatar of Roe Merry

      Of course, it is okay. Jet lag is a normal issue, this article is how to lessen it.

  6. Avatar of Esther Devine

    Esther Devine

    My boyfriend can still drink 3 bottles of beer after arriving. I don’t know what kind of spell is he using because he still has the energy despite time differences.

  7. Avatar of Joan Morales

    Joan Morales

    The main reason why I don’t accept business meeting that has a different time zone. I can’t concentrate with my power points and stuff.

  8. Avatar of Brittany West

    Brittany West

    OMG. I love eating on planes. I feel like I’m eating on top of the air. Isn’t that amazing?? ☺

  9. Avatar of Lisa Bryson

    Lisa Bryson

    I’m just going to sleep, and let my body get used to it. ?

    • Avatar of Meiga Jenk

      Same. I’ll just watch on Netflix, then sleep. My normal routine.

  10. Avatar of Deanna Woods

    Deanna Woods

    Great tips from you. I am away, and jet lag is one of my problems why sometimes I am not productive. This would be a big help.

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