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How To Prevent Jet Lag

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Jet lag prevention is possible Konstantin Kamenetskiy/PhotoSpin

Flying on an airplane can be an exciting experience. The thrill of seeing family, friends, or a new place causes millions of people to book flights each year.

Whether you are going near or far, chances are that you have suffered from jet lag as a result of flying.

Jet lag, which is a result of crossing multiple time zones rapidly, causes the circadian rhythm (internal body clock) to be thrown off.

The Mayo Clinic says, “jet lag can cause daytime fatigue, an unwell feeling, difficulty staying alert and gastrointestinal problems.”

It usually lasts about two days, depending on the number of time zones crossed, but there are several treatments available.

No medicine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat jet lag, but natural remedies are plentiful.

The easiest treatment is not only free, but also natural.


This powerful tool can put you back on track faster then any medicine.

Products containing lavender may also help with sleep.

Various sources have created online jet lag calculators, which can help optimize your sleep schedule by taking the sun into account.

British Airways, together with Dr. Chris Idzikowski from the United Kingdom, has created a widely used jet lag calculator.

Melatonin supplements can also be used to help aid sleep, since melatonin creates feelings of sleepiness. These are taken right before going to sleep so that they can help induce sleep.

MSNBC published an article on the topic in which they suggest using caffeine. This can be effective for alertness or as a booster when one is starting to feel tired in the middle of the day. However, caffeine needs to be consumed at least six hours before going to sleep, since it may cause sleeplessness in some people.

They mentioned an interview with Andrew Watterson, a management consultant based in Dallas, saying that "he plans his day accordingly, making sure not to schedule any important appointments around 3 p.m. Instead, he takes a coffee break."

Another mistake many people make is that they do not sleep on the plane, which aggravates the symptoms of jet lag, because you are depriving yourself of sleep.

Even though jet lag is experienced by people in a variety of ways, the key to conquering it seems to be knowing your own body.


"Jet Lag Calculator." - British Airways. British Airways, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 July 2010. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.

Stengle, Jamie. "Feeling Groggy? Simple Cures for Jet Lag." Msnbc.com. Msnbc Digital Network, 26 May 2010. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.

Reviewed November 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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