How to recover from jet lag

If you dread long haul flights and the effects of jet lag then read our tips on how best to prepare yourself and recover…

  • Drink plenty of water while traveling and after you arrive. If you are dehydrated, it will take you longer to adapt to the new time zone.
  • Sleep on the plane to be alert and awake if you will be arriving in the morning or early afternoon. Stay awake on the plane to be sleepy upon arrival if you’ll reach your destination in the evening or at night ready for bedtime.
  • If you arrive at your final destination in the morning, try to stay awake all day. Drink small amounts of coffee, tea or caffeinated soda to wake you up but don’t drink too much caffeine as it will further disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • If you arrive in the evening, go to sleep at your normal bedtime according to the new time zone. So if your bedtime at home is 11 pm, go to bed at that time in your new location.
  • If your trip is shorter than 48 hours, schedule meetings according to your home time zone. If the new time zone is 3 hours ahead of your normal time, schedule late morning or afternoon meetings when you will be awake and alert for your meeting.
  • Get some natural daylight exposure and exercise in the morning in the new time zone, this will help reset your internal clock.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day while you adjust to new mealtimes. Keep a snack by your bed if your regular dinnertime occurs in the middle of the night in the new time zone.
  • Give your body time to adjust. If you feel very drowsy during the day, take a nap for up to one hour, but make sure it’s before evening. Avoid pushing yourself too hard during the first few days.
  • To minimize the effects of jet lag, start adjusting your internal clock before you depart. Go to sleep an hour earlier or later on the days leading up to your departure.
  • Generally, it is more difficult to adjust to a time zone when you are traveling east, because you must wake up and go to sleep earlier than you’re used to.

Don’t forget to pack your Backpacker insurance!
If you are planning a gap year or going backpacking it is inevitable you’ll be setting off on a long haul flight at some point in your journey. You can purchase great value backpackers insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 2-month trip backpacking in Asia, will cost you just £18.04* – a small price to pay to really enjoy your backpacking adventure all the more!

Remember to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) for any risks associated with your destination before you travel.

*Premium £18.04 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 36 taking out a ‘Standard’ Backpacker Worldwide excluding USA, Canada & Caribbean 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (November 2010) and are subject to change.