General Travel Tips

My Trick For Beating Jet Lag (I Swear It Works)

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

On a trip to Thailand I got jet lag. Wait, let me rephrase that. I had debilitating, shoot-me-now jet lag.  I arrived in Bangkok dragging like a character from The Walking Dead, vowing never to feel that way again.

Four years and many time-zones later, so far, so good. What’s my secret? It’s simple really. Lets use a trip to Africa as an example.

My flights

I leave New York at 6pm for Johannesburg, South Africa and have a 3-hour layover in Amsterdam. When I arrive in the Netherlands it will be 7:25am local time, my body, however, will think it’s 1am (blech).

I depart for South Africa at 10:25am and arrive in Johannesburg at 9pm local time after a grueling 20+ hours of travel (double-blech), and that’s if everything is on time.

My plan

The trick to beating jet lag is using your flights to adjust your body to the local time of your final destination.

In this case I will to go to sleep soon after I board my plane in NYC. Because I won’t be tired that early in the evening, I’ll take one melatonin tablet to help me doze off. (If you need something stronger, use it, this is a perfect time to break out the big guns)  If it’s bright in the cabin I’ll use a sleep mask to block the light.

Six hours later I’ll arrive in Amsterdam at 7:25am having slept the entire way. I’ll be groggy, but awake enough to survive my layover without wanting to collapse.

From that point on I’ll stay awake (binging on in-flight entertainment no doubt) until I reach Johannesburg 11 hours later—which thankfully is in the same timezone as Amsterdam.

Having stayed up during the flight, I will be ready to go back to sleep by the time I reach my hotel in South Africa around 10pm. If all goes well my body will be on local time the next morning. Yes, I will be a little tired, but not completely blown away by the time change, and by the next day I’ll be raring to go.

Do you have any sure-fire methods for beating jet-lag?

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