How To Beat Jet Lag

What is jet lag? It’s not just the mind numbing exhaustion and dehydration you can feel after a long haul flight. They are a part of it, but essentially can be cured with sleep and water.

Jet lag is the result of crossing multiple time zones, usually on a long international flight, and completely disrupts your circadian rhythm – the internal clock that rules your daily eating and sleeping patterns.


Sometimes you feel it shortly after landing at your new destination, other times it creeps up on you, striking without warning, leaving you dizzy, irritable, red eyed. It can make your heart pound without reason, has you waking in the dead of night, makes you feel like you are in a fog. Symptoms include nausea, visual disturbances, stress, exhaustion and insomnia, and for chronic migraine sufferers (like me) it can trigger brain bending migraines.

Plus it leaves you looking like hell.

They say it is worse when flying from west to east, because the body finds it harder to adapt to a shorter day. For me for some reason the flight home to America, whether from Europe or from Australia, kicks me the hardest. Maybe the sadness of my trip ending is the bigger factor?
Anyway, after a lifetime of traveling round and round the world, both for work and for play, for the most part I have a pretty effective road map for how to beat jet lag.
Once in a while it still catches me, but in general I follow these 10 rules to avoid jet lag – I don’t ever want to miss a minute of my trip due to it.


1.    Get Extra Sleep Before You Leave.
The worst thing you can do is get on the plane already tired. I try to get some extra hours in in the days prior to departing, if at all possible. The times I really suffer are when I’ve worked right up to the last minute or had a frantic final few days before leaving.
If I have time I do extra yoga in the days leading up to the flight, which helps enormously. I also make sure I stay alcohol free that week and make super smart food choices. Every little thing helps.

2.    Plan Your Airport Strategy
I arrive early to minimize any airport stress, and where possible go to the airline’s club lounge. The chairs are more comfortable, the vibe is very peaceful as opposed to the plastic chairs and mayhem at the gate. Other people’s frantic and distorted energy can leech over onto you, affecting you more than you realize, so being in a chill environment can be a huge advantage.

I am also super careful about what I eat (bring healthy snacks rather than buying unhealthy, salt and sugar laden, high carb airport food) and I drink tons of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine like the plague. They are both major dehydrators and can really mess with your chances of sleeping during the flight.

3.    Change Your Watch To The Final Time Zone When You Board Your Flight
The sooner you can start tricking your body into behaving on the new time zone the better. It’s much harder when flying through the day to trick your body into believing it’s night, but the more you can do the better.
If you can start rewiring your brain in the days leading up to your flight it gets even easier. Go to bed slightly  later if you are flying west or earlier if you are flying east. (I invariably work until the day before I leave, and have a child to get up and ready for school in the mornings, so this tactic is never an option for me.)

4.    Drink Tons Of Water During Your Flight.

On top of the 8 glasses of water you need each day for basic health, you lose approximately one glass of water for every hour you are in flight, so drinking extra water is essential.

I normally buy a couple of bottles of water to take onboard with me. Flight attendants are generally too busy to bring you Dixie cups of water every 5 minutes, so I make sure I have ample with me. The more you hydrate (with water!) during the flight the easier the recovery is at your destination.
Again avoid alcohol like the plague. It is the super dehydrator, and even more so when flying. I avoid it for the first 24 hours after landing too.
Also be super cognizant of your food choices on during the flight. It’s easy to eat out of boredom instead of hunger on long flights. If possible pack sliced up fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and healthy foods to eat during your flight instead of the carb rich airline meals.

5.    Sleep During The Flight


Bring ear plugs and an eye mask, get comfy and make yourself sleep as best as possible.

            When You Land


  Drink more water!
 I load up on EmergenC  and B vitamins, and drink tons of water. Hydration is the great equalizer.

7.       Walk

When I get to my new destination I try to get a good long walk in as quickly as possible. It gets the blood pumping again after you’ve been sitting for hours, and helps get the oxygen flowing. It’s not unusual to get swelling in the feet, ankles and legs from fluids pooling while you sit on the flight, so a big walk helps enormously. Apparently in can help ward off Deep Vein Thrombosis too.

8.       Get Sunlight.
If you arrive during the daytime utilize the sunlight to help your body adjust to the new time zone. Sometimes you just want to go to bed, but that is about the worst thing you can do.
Stay up until it’s bedtime at your location. If you have at least 7 hours before bedtime local time, grab a coffee or an espresso.

9.    Use A Sleep Aid
If its bedtime and you’re wide awake use a sleep aid. Melatonin works for plenty of people, but unfortunately not for me. Even though drugs like Ambien don’t give you a proper sleep (or so I’m told), an Ambien night will leave you far more rested and equipped to handle the new day than lying in bed wide awake and feeling off kilter will.

10.                       Plan An Easy First Day

If possible plan an easy day for your first day. A heavy duty sightseeing day after a night of limited or disturbed sleep, or on the back of some heavy duty jet lag is pure hell. Ease your way into the trip and you will enjoy the entire experience much more!

The Corinna B's World Glam Italia Tour is getting ready to take off next month.
Make sure you subscribe to us via email (see right panel) so that you don't miss any fabulous Italy posts, and also so that you can be entered to win our Italy giveaways!
More details to follow... xo