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Beat the Beast; 7 Ways to Overcome Jet Lag


Urrgghh, jet lag! Yup, that dreaded six letters we all fear when traveling abroad. How many days of our limited holiday must we sacrifice in order to overcome this unwanted travel companion? If you’re one of the million globetrotters of this planet then jet lag is inevitable if ill-prepared. I’m sick and tired (literally) of dealing with this monster every time I step foot onto a plane. How about you? 

Over the past 12 months I’ve traveled from my home land of Australia to Cape Town, San Francisco, and Barcelona. All these were long distance destinations for me and I was mentally and physically prepared to handle the onslaught of jet lag for each trip.  By implementing my self-proven step-by step methods, I ended up escaping without that horrible jet lag hangover. 

However, it was a recent business trip from Adelaide to Perth that really knocked me out. Like one of those epic Mike Tyson powerhouse uppercut that put me on the mat and literally almost cost me a new client in the process. Enough is enough Mr. Jet Lag! I can’t afford to let this epidemic (feels like one) slow me down anymore. As the wonderful humanitarian that I am, I decided to make this public knowledge in order to beat the beast of jet lag once and for all. 

I’ve compiled a list of seven step-by-step remedies to assist you in this battle. I’ve even gone so far to break these antidotes into pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight sections to give everyone a fighting chance against our nemesis. Let’s begin!

Pre-Flight Preparation vs Jet Lag

Don’t underestimate the value of pre-flight preparation. For some, this pre-flight preparation does come at a small price. Looking at the big picture, wouldn’t you rather sacrifice your pre-holiday time rather than on holiday locale suffering through the agony of defeat. In my experience this section is the most important of all and is highly recommended in order to achieve success. 

1. Preempted Approach

For this method to work successfully you must be willing to sacrifice a few days of your at-home routine. What do you mean you ask? Well for anyone traveling overseas or long distances the preempted approach means adjusting your biological clock to your destination’s time zone. 48 hours prior to departure, i.e. follow the time of destination x and begin a sleep pattern catered to that specific destination. For example; if you’re staring at a 12-hour time change, start sleeping during the day and power on through the night and repeat until you get on schedule. You will arrive at your destination already programed to that time zone and ready to begin your journey fresh off the plane.      

2. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Ouch! I know…I know. Sorry everyone, but if you’re serious about beating the beast of jet lag then avoiding caffeine and alcohol is a prerequisite to victory. This method ties directly into the preempted approach as we need to flush our system of stimulates and other misleading chemical reactions. Not to worry, just stay off the goods until you are fully adjusted and let loose after you arrive.  

In-Flight Steps to Combat Jet Lag

So your biological clock is set. Let’s continue onward and keep the ball rolling in the right direction with more in-flight remedies to assist our battle. If you had followed the pre-flight preparations then you’re halfway home. Though why do anything half-assed when you could complete the procedure to its absolute full potential? 

3. Remain Balanced and Rested (if applies)

Keeping the body rested, calm, and stress-free of unnecessary worries is vital. Yes, you’re in transit, in airports, amongst the unsavory masses. I realize this is easier said than done. My answer, just do your best to stay balanced throughout. If your destination’s time zone calls for you to sleep during the flight - great! Your biological clock is already programmed for this so it shouldn’t be an issue. 

4. Essential Oils & Hydration

My wife brought this one to the table and bravo! We used essential oils on our trip to South Africa and found it was a brilliant remedy. Not only do oils assist in psychological arena against jet lag, they’re also a great source for travelers during holiday for many natural medicinal uses too. 

  • Lavender- to calm and wind down 
  • Peppermint- helps relieve headaches, tummy issues and exhaustion
  • Citrus Oils- To remain hydrated during transit is vital. Adding a drop of citrus oil to your antioxidant drink will elevate natural properties to assist your immune system while keeping you balanced and rested.   
  • Tea Tree Oil- fights insect bites, sunburn and basic sores.

5. Seek Good Space and Low Traffic Areas

This is a no brainer here. In order to remain balanced throughout the flight it’s best to seek out as much legroom as possible in a low traffic area of the plane. Allowing you to stretch at will while implementing inflight exercises to keep the body happy. Obviously staying away from the lavatory and flight attendants station is best to keep the peace.  

Post-Flight Remedies; Congratulations, No Jet Lag!

By now all your sacrifices and dedication will pay off as you’ve landed in your destination feeling fresh as a daisy. However, jet lag won’t give up that easily! There’re still a few methods to apply in order to beat the beast.

6. Soak Up the Sun/Exercise

If you’ve followed these steps thus far you should be feeling halfway human out of the gate. 

Now, get yourself out into the sun. Nothing sets the body and biological clock like our beloved sun.  Getting your body onboard with your destinations day/night cycle will pay dividends immediately. However, don’t overdo it, take easy walks and get familiar with your destination. Keep the blood pumping and feel re-energized after a long flight.

7. Fight the Urge to Sleep 

No matter how much preparation we take against jet lag, once we’ve landed, our bodies naturally feel exhausted from the travel. Our natural reaction is to take a short power nap just to rid ourselves of that first wave of exhaustion. Don’t do it! All your hard work could be wasted with a 20-minute power nap. Stay focused and remain on the local day/night cycle. Fight fight fight that urge and if you have to go to bed early that first night— so be it. You’ll awake the next day like a champion traveler ready to take on the world. 

Congratulations, you should be well on your way to conquering the beast. As a traveler, I’m always seeking new and better solutions in making travel as easy as possible. Please feel free to share your methods as well. 

With that said, it’s time to sit back, unwind and enjoy your holiday. It is now safe to resume old habits. So knock yourself out and go consume all the coffee and alcohol you require. Why not? You’re on holiday mate!  

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An American foodie turned outdoors enthusiast writes professionally as a freelance writer and web developer who is now currently enjoying his life in beautiful Australia. Currently he continues to trek the globe in search of his next venture! Scott is the perfect spokesman for living life like it's an adventure.
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