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8 Tips for Beating Jet Lag

Sorry it has been so long since I was able to write new content! I just started a new job, so my free time has been greatly reduced. I hope to be able to provide a couple new posts per week going forward.

One of the questions I get a lot is how do I deal with jet lag? Different trips will affect your internal clock in different ways. Personally I think an 8 hour time difference (east coast to Dubai) is much easier to get quickly accustomed to than say the 3 hour difference between Florida and California. New planes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A350 are pressurized at a lower altitude and have special features designed to make long haul flying less taxing on the body.

With another long-haul trip coming up, I figured I would give you all some of the tips I use for beating jet lag.

Beating jet lag on shorter trips

One of the easiest ways to combat the effects of jet lag if you are just doing a cross country trip is to adjust your sleep schedule a couple days before you leave. If you are flying west try staying up an extra hour for a few nights before your trip. If you are flying east, try getting up an hour or so earlier for a couple days before your trip. If you are able to adjust your meal times along with your sleep adjustments, then you should be golden upon arriving in your destination!

Beating jet lag on long trips

Perfectly cooked steak at 40,000 ft

Perfectly cooked steak at 40,000 ft

When you’re flying to the Middle East or Asia you will often be served at least two meals when flying in business class or above. When I am flying on a flight where my timezone changes by more than 5 hours then I try and time my meals to correspond with the new time zone. For example when my flight from New York to London on the way to Dubai was delayed until about midnight I still had a meal on board because it was about 8 AM in Dubai.

Get some sleep

Qatar Pajamas - Be sure to pack comfy clothes, although some airlines will give you PJs in first/business class

Qatar Pajamas – Be sure to pack comfy clothes, although some airlines will give you PJs in first/business class

When flying on a red-eye across the US or from the East Coast to Europe by all means get as much sleep as possible. The flights are less than 8 hours and chances are you won’t be asleep for the entire flight. Flights longer than that I try to limit myself to 5-6 hours of sleep depending on the length of the flight and what time we will be arriving at our destination.

From Dallas to Doha (14 hours) I probably slept about 6 hours because we were arriving at 7 PM and had a 1 AM departure for the Maldives. I knew I wanted to sleep on the Doha to Maldives leg, so I couldn’t arrive in Doha fully rested.

My upcoming trip to Singapore I leave Los Angeles at about 2 AM and arrive in Hong Kong around 8AM. I will probably sleep quite a bit on the flight so I can enjoy Singapore Airlines Business class from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Stay Hydrated!

Fully stocked mini bar for optimal hydration

Fully stocked mini bar for optimal hydration

The pressurized airplane cabins do a number on your skin and sinuses, but it also dehydrates you quickly. Be sure to drink plenty of water especially if you are enjoying coffee or wine! I try to drink at least one 20 oz bottle of water for each 4 hours of flight time.

Stay Active on Long Flights

It is important to get up and stretch your arms and legs every once in a while on long flights. Not only will stretching aid in beating jet lag, but it will also help with circulation and avoiding blood clots.

Go sightseeing when you arrive

Mallory in front of the Eiffel Tower

Mallory in front of the Eiffel Tower

Spending the day taking in natural light will help your circadian rhythm adjust quicker. Being active on your first day in your destination will also make it easier to stay awake and adjust to your new sleep schedule.

Plan a stopover

Big Ben

Big Ben

If you have an extra day or two plan a stopover halfway to your final destination. It should be easier to acclimate to two 5 hour changes than it is to a single 10 hour change. If you are headed to the Middle East or Asia from the East coast you can plan a couple days in Paris or London as a stopover. When you are flying on award tickets you can build at least one stopover each way for free.

Use credit card or airline miles for business class

My bed made in the Etihad First Class Apartment

My bed made in the Etihad First Class Apartment

A larger, more comfortable seat will go a long way in beating jet lag. Most business class seats on long haul flights will fold fully flat allowing you to sleep like it was a bed. Use my tips and tricks for using your American Airline, Delta, or United awards miles to book business class trips! Sign up for a credit card with good transfer partners to book first or business class award travel that way.

Beating jet lag

If you follow these tips you should have no problem beating jet lag. Sometimes it is bound to happen though and the only way to cure it is avoiding naps and eating and sleeping on local time. Hopefully these tips help you prevent jet lag and allow you to have more time to enjoy your destinations!

Do you have any tips for beating jet lag that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!

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