5 Proven Tips to Beat Jet Lag Naturally
Jet lag can easily stop you in your tracks, but these proven tips to beat jet lag naturally will have your body back on the right time zone quickly.
(Note: this post was originally published December 2014, but just updated to include more tips and resources).
Whether you’re traveling across the country or across a few continents, jet lag can knock you sideways and stop you dead in your tracks. Fatigue, fuzzy brain, lethargy and indigestion are just a few of the symptoms that will leave you feeling less than stellar.
And who wants to feel less than stellar when you’re in a new city? Not me. And I’m sure you’re not eagerly raising your hand either.
Further, depending on the time when you land, you may still have a full day ahead of you.
That was my scenario on my latest trip to Sydney, Australia. I had the bright spark idea to use award miles and route through Hong Kong. Clearly, not my best decision making. That meant a 26 hour flight plus layover with an arrival time of 10am – a full day ahead of me.
Oh, and did I mention it’s impossible for me to sleep on planes?
Yet the following day, I was refreshed, energized and ready to rekindle my love affair with the city I hadn’t seen in 15 years. Because after having traveled seven continents and more than 30 countries, I’ve learned a thing or two about jet lag. And how to beat jet lag naturally, without the need for sleeping pills, melatonin or other meds.
This is jet lag conquering au naturel!
Here are my five proven tips to beat jet lag naturally:
1. Switch your watch
When you get on the plane, immediately switch your watch and devices to the time zone you’ll be landing in. Your brain is infinitely powerful so give your circadian rhythm a boost with some mental messaging. When you glance at your watch a few times during the flight you’ll reinforce your body’s internal clock to your new time zone.
2. Stay hydrated and eat light
Skip the coffee and alcohol on the plane. These beverages will not only dehydrate you, they’ll mess with your sleep patterns. Instead, drink lots of water and eat clean, light meals. This means staying away from the sugary, convenience food in the airport as well as the processed food on the plane. Pre-packed veggie snacks, healthy trail mix, chia seed packets and fresh fruit is always best, along with several bottles of water throughout the flight. Herbal teas such as chamomile or echinacea provide an extra immune boost, while tea blends can help you maintain a state of calm and relaxation or good night’s sleep.
3. Get some sunshine
For daytime arrivals, drop your bags at your destination then get your body outside – STAT! Soak up at least 15 minutes of sunshine. This will zap your body with some much needed vitamin D and help to re-program your circadian rhythm.
4. Ground yourself with nature
After you’ve gone outside for some sunshine, connect your feet to mother earth. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in some sand or grass. At the very least, find a park, lie down and listen to the wind blow through the trees. After a long flight with recycled air, breathing in fresh oxygen will do wonders for your body’s interconnected systems.
5. Resist the urge to sleep in
If you have an evening arrival, set your alarm clock to get up at sunrise and go for a walk. I know this seems like the last thing you want to do, but a little morning exercise will work wonders. If you’re returning home, you can use a sunrise alarm clock (which I swear by) to gently nudge your body back to the correct time zone.
Do you find traveling across time zones difficult? Have any other tips to beat jet naturally? Share in the comments below!
For more healthy travel tips make sure to check out my ebook Roaming Free: A Whole Food Approach for Traveling the World Healthy, Happy and Gluten-Free.
The Argonne diet has been used by the military for years for deployment across timezones. Has to be started 4 days before departure.
Also important is whether travel is east-west or west-east – Less jetlag for east-west travel.
A set of blue light blocker glasses can be helpful as well on long flights. I wish I had a pair on the flight to China.
Yes, great point Glenn! :)
Sunshine + exploration is a recipe for success in my books. Thanks Lisa!
Such common sense advice that we often forget. I always remember to change my watch (as soon as I’m in my seat!). But am not so good about the sunshine… I can be guilty of “resting” in the hotel or heading immediately inside a restaurant or museum or something. Not good! Thanks for the reminder!!
Yeah, diving indoors is easy to do. But just a wee bit of time outdoors will do amazing wonders. :)