Traveling to new destinations can be an exciting adventure, but jet lag can quickly dampen your enthusiasm.

Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when you travel across multiple time zones, disrupting your body’s internal clock. Common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping, which can affect your overall travel experience.

Preventing jet lag is essential for making the most of your trip. By taking proactive steps, you can minimize its impact and ensure you have the energy to enjoy every moment of your journey.

In this blog, we will share 10 proven tips to help you avoid jet lag on your next trip, allowing you to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.

Tip 1: Adjust Your Sleep Schedule Before Departure

One effective way to combat jet lag is to gradually adjust your sleep schedule to match your destination’s time zone before you depart. This proactive approach helps your body acclimate to the new time zone, making the transition smoother and reducing the severity of jet lag symptoms.

Start by shifting your bedtime and wake-up time by 15-30 minutes each day in the week leading up to your trip. If you are traveling east, go to bed and wake up earlier; if you are traveling west, do the opposite. This gradual adjustment allows your body’s internal clock to reset more comfortably.

In addition to adjusting your sleep times, try to align your daily activities, such as meals and exercise, with the schedule of your destination. This holistic approach helps reinforce the new routine and prepares your body for the change.

Tip 2: Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial in preventing jet lag and maintaining your overall well-being during travel. Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of jet lag, making you feel more tired and sluggish. Airplane cabins have low humidity levels, which can easily lead to dehydration, so it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight.

Aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water every hour you’re in the air. Bring a reusable water bottle with you and refill it regularly. Many airports have water stations where you can top up your bottle before boarding. During the flight, don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants for extra water if you need it.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can contribute to dehydration and disrupt your sleep patterns. While a glass of wine or a cup of coffee might seem tempting, it’s best to stick with water or herbal teas to keep your body properly hydrated.

Additionally, eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help maintain your hydration levels. Consuming these foods as snacks during your flight can be a refreshing way to stay hydrated and keep hunger at bay.

Tip 3: Get Plenty of Daylight

Exposure to natural light is one of the most effective ways to reset your internal clock and minimize the effects of jet lag. Daylight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to adjust to a new time zone.

Upon arrival at your destination, spend as much time outdoors as possible, especially during the daylight hours. If you land in the morning or afternoon, try to go for a walk, explore local sights, or simply sit outside. This exposure to sunlight helps signal to your body that it’s time to be awake and alert.

If you arrive at night and it’s already dark, try to limit your exposure to artificial light before bed to help your body prepare for sleep. Use blackout curtains in your hotel room and consider wearing an eye mask to create a dark sleeping environment.

For those who have limited access to natural light, such as during winter months or in destinations with shorter daylight hours, light therapy can be a helpful alternative. Portable light therapy boxes can simulate natural sunlight and help you adjust your sleep schedule more effectively.

Tip 4: Take Short Naps

Taking short naps can be an effective strategy to combat jet lag, but it’s important to nap wisely to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep. Napping can help you manage daytime sleepiness and give you the energy boost you need to stay active during your trip.

Aim for power naps of 20-30 minutes. This duration is long enough to recharge your energy levels without falling into deep sleep, which can make you feel groggy when you wake up. Set an alarm to ensure you don’t oversleep and disrupt your nighttime rest.

Try to time your naps strategically. If you’re struggling to stay awake during the day, a short nap in the early afternoon can help you feel more alert. However, avoid napping too late in the day, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

Find a comfortable and quiet place to nap. If you’re traveling and don’t have access to a bed, a reclining chair or even a quiet corner can suffice. Use an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and noise, creating a restful environment.

Tip 5: Use Sleep Aids Wisely

Sleep aids can help manage jet lag, but it’s important to use them wisely to ensure they are both effective and safe. Natural options and over-the-counter sleep aids can assist in adjusting your sleep schedule, but they should be used cautiously and appropriately.

Natural Sleep Aids:

  • Melatonin: This hormone helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Taking a low dose of melatonin about an hour before bedtime at your destination can help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
  • Herbal Remedies: Supplements like valerian root or chamomile tea can promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep without causing grogginess.

Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids:

  • Antihistamines: Products like diphenhydramine (found in Benadryl) can make you drowsy, but use them sparingly to avoid next-day drowsiness.
  • Mild Sleep Medications: Over-the-counter sleep medications can help in the short term but should not be used for long periods. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Important Considerations:

  • Avoid Dependence: Use sleep aids only for the initial adjustment period, not as a long-term solution. Aim to establish a natural sleep pattern as soon as possible.
  • Test Before Travel: If you’ve never used a particular sleep aid before, try it at home first to see how your body reacts.
  • Consult a Professional: If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications, consult a healthcare provider to ensure there are no interactions or contraindications.

Tip 6: Eat Balanced Meals

Eating balanced meals can play a significant role in reducing jet lag and maintaining your energy levels during travel. A proper diet helps regulate your body’s internal clock and supports overall health.

Meal Timing:

  • Align with Destination Time: Try to eat your meals according to the local time of your destination as soon as you begin your journey. This helps your body adjust to the new schedule more quickly.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Before and during your flight, opt for lighter meals that are easier to digest. Heavy, rich foods can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable, affecting your ability to sleep and stay active.

Nutritional Balance:

  • Include Protein: Foods rich in protein, such as lean meats, beans, and nuts, can keep you feeling full and provide sustained energy.
  • Incorporate Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread provide complex carbohydrates that help maintain steady energy levels.
  • Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: These are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that support your immune system and overall health.


  • Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is crucial for your well-being, so drink water regularly and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.

Avoiding Caffeine and Alcohol:

  • Limit Intake: Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns. Try to avoid these beverages several hours before you plan to sleep.

Snack Wisely:

  • Healthy Snacks: Keep healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, or fruit on hand to maintain energy levels without consuming too many calories or processed foods.

Tip 7: Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can be instrumental in minimizing the effects of jet lag and helping you adjust to a new time zone more quickly. Physical activity not only boosts your mood and energy levels but also regulates your circadian rhythms, which govern your sleep-wake cycle.

Benefits of Exercise:

  • Improves Circulation: Moving your body improves blood flow and oxygen circulation, which can combat feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.
  • Enhances Mood: Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators, helping you feel more alert and positive.
  • Regulates Sleep: Engaging in physical activity during daylight hours can help reset your body clock, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up refreshed in the morning.

Types of Exercise:

  • Cardiovascular Activities: Walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming are excellent options for increasing heart rate and boosting energy levels.
  • Strength Training: Bodyweight exercises or using resistance bands can help maintain muscle tone and prevent stiffness from long periods of sitting during travel.

Timing of Exercise:

  • Daylight Hours: Aim to exercise during daylight hours at your destination to maximize exposure to natural light, which further supports your circadian rhythm adjustment.
  • Avoid Late Evenings: Try to complete your workout several hours before bedtime to allow your body time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Simple Exercises During Travel:

  • Stretching: Perform gentle stretches to relieve tension and improve flexibility, especially after long flights or periods of sitting.
  • Walking: Explore your destination on foot to increase physical activity and exposure to natural light simultaneously.

Tip 8: Stay on Local Time

One of the most effective strategies to combat jet lag is to adjust to the local time as soon as you arrive at your destination. This approach helps synchronize your internal body clock with the new time zone, minimizing the disruption to your sleep-wake cycle.

Tips to Stay on Local Time:

  • Avoid Napping Excessively: While short naps can be beneficial, try to resist the temptation to nap for long periods during the day, especially if it’s not aligned with the local schedule.
  • Eat Meals at Local Times: Start eating your meals according to the local meal schedule immediately upon arrival. This helps signal to your body that it’s time to be awake or wind down based on local customs.
  • Engage in Local Activities: Participate in local activities and sightseeing during daylight hours to maximize exposure to natural light, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
  • Stay Active Until Bedtime: Remain active and engaged in activities until it’s time to sleep at the local bedtime. This encourages your body to adjust to the new sleep schedule naturally.
  • Limit Exposure to Light at Night: Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to create a dark sleeping environment at night, helping your body recognize it’s time to rest.

Tip 9: Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Limiting screen time before bed can help improve your sleep quality and facilitate quicker adjustment to a new time zone. The blue light emitted by screens, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Tips to Limit Screen Time Before Bed:

  • Establish a Digital Curfew: Set a specific time each evening to stop using electronic devices. This allows your brain to wind down naturally before sleep.
  • Use Night Mode: Many devices offer a night mode or blue light filter that reduces the amount of blue light emitted. Enable this feature in the evening to minimize its impact on your sleep.
  • Read a Book or Listen to Music: Instead of scrolling through your phone, opt for a relaxing activity like reading a book or listening to calming music to help you unwind.
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Develop a soothing bedtime routine that does not involve screens, such as taking a warm bath or practicing gentle yoga stretches.

Importance of Reducing Screen Time:

  • Promotes Better Sleep: By reducing exposure to blue light, your body can produce melatonin more effectively, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Supports Circadian Rhythm: Maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps your body adjust to the local time zone more quickly, minimizing the effects of jet lag.
  • Improves Overall Well-Being: Quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy your travel experiences.

Tip 10: Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Creating a comfortable sleep environment is essential for minimizing jet lag and ensuring restful sleep during your travels. Adjusting to a new time zone can be challenging, but optimizing your surroundings can greatly aid in the process.

Tips for Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment:

  • Choose the Right Bedding: Ensure your bed is comfortable with supportive pillows and blankets that suit your preferences.
  • Use Sleep Accessories: Consider using earplugs and a sleep mask to block out noise and light, especially if you’re in a new environment or dealing with different time zones.
  • Control Room Temperature: Adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level, as cooler temperatures often promote better sleep.
  • Minimize Distractions: Reduce noise and light disturbances by closing curtains or using white noise machines to create a serene sleeping environment.
  • Maintain Sleep Hygiene: Stick to a regular bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Importance of a Comfortable Sleep Environment:

  • Enhances Sleep Quality: A comfortable setting promotes deeper and more restorative sleep, helping you feel refreshed and ready to explore your destination.
  • Supports Adaptation to Time Zones: Minimizing disruptions in your sleep environment encourages faster adjustment to the local time zone, reducing the impact of jet lag.
  • Improves Overall Well-Being: Quality sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, ensuring you have the energy and focus to enjoy your travel experiences fully.


In conclusion, managing jet lag is crucial for ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. By implementing these 10 proven tips, you can significantly reduce the impact of jet lag and maximize your energy levels during your trip:

  1. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule Before Departure: Gradually shift your bedtime to align with your destination’s time zone.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  3. Get Plenty of Daylight: Exposure to natural light helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
  4. Take Short Naps: Rest when needed but keep naps short to avoid disrupting nighttime sleep.
  5. Use Sleep Aids Wisely: Consider natural options like melatonin and use over-the-counter aids cautiously.
  6. Eat Balanced Meals: Maintain a nutritious diet to support your body’s needs and energy levels.
  7. Exercise Regularly: Stay active to boost your mood and help regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
  8. Stay on Local Time: Adjust your activities and meals to match the local time zone as soon as you arrive.
  9. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: Reduce exposure to blue light from screens to improve sleep quality.
  10. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Optimize your surroundings for restful sleep with the right bedding and sleep accessories.

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Suman Karki
Suman Karki is the founder of the AviaTech Channel blog and YouTube Channel. He is a passionate aviation enthusiast and holds experience working as a Ground Operations Officer for Swissport International. He is currently serving as a Flight Data Feeder for FlightAware (a US-based company for Flight Tracking). Besides, he has worked as an aviation content editor for various aviation media.