Jet lag - Prevention 

Preventing jet lag 

Jet lag can't be prevented but you can take steps to reduce its effects.

Before travelling

Before you travel:

  • Change your sleep routine a few days before your departure. If you are travelling east, go to bed an hour earlier than your usual time; if you are travelling west, go to bed an hour later. Try to adapt your sleeping routine with your destination in mind.
  • Get enough sleep before you travel. Flying when you are tired can make jet lag worse.
  • Keep calm and relaxed. Airports can often be stressful places; keep calm to avoid getting stressed, as stress can make jet lag worse.
  • Check in online. This can help reduce stress and will enable you to relax as soon as you arrive at the airport.

During the flight

During the flight:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Ensure you are well hydrated before, during and after your flight.
  • Rest during the flight. Take short naps.
  • Limit your caffeine consumption. Avoid drinking too many drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola, and avoid drinking them within a few hours of planned sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol. Eat light meals and avoid drinking alcohol because it can make the symptoms of jet lag worse.
  • Keep active. When flying long distances, take regular walks around the cabin and stretch your arms and legs while you are sitting down; this will also help reduce your risk of developing a potentially serious condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Change your watch to match the time of your new destination. This will help you to adjust to your new time zone more quickly.

Try to get some sleep if it is night time when you arrive at your destination. You may find using ear plugs and an eye mask is useful.

Short trips

It may be better to stay on "home time" if you are only taking a short trip (less than three or four days).

If possible, arrange activities and sleep to coincide with the time at home. This will reduce the chances of your body clock being disrupted.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2012

Next review due: 15/05/2014


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

DannyMcW9 said on 09 April 2013

can someone tell me if jetlag occurs to everyone or do some people not get it?

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Women on a plance

Preventing DVT when you travel

Reduce your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during a long journey, including advice on leg exercises and flight socks