Tips for beating jet lag: Readers' edition

14 Dec 2016 by Craig Bright

Back in November, we spoke to airline staff from three major carriers operating in Asia-Pacific to get their take on how they beat that most frustrating of travel afflictions, jet lag.

Following on from their suggestions, we put the question to you, our readers, to find out some of the methods that have and have not worked for you when it comes to managing an out-of-sync internal clock.

Here are some of the ideas you had to share:

Early mornings when flying

Forum user Ian says: “I travel regularly to Japan and tend to prefer a direct flight that arrives in the morning. I always plan for the time zone change by getting up really early in the morning I’m flying (i.e. 4am for a noon-ish flight), so that I will definitely be tired and get some sleep en route.” 

Infrared sauna

Select your aircraft

Choosing the right flight and aircraft can help counter the onset of jet lag, if only marginally. User nevereconomy says: “Over many years of brutal long overseas trips, I really have not found much to make an appreciable difference. Avoiding the 777 (jet lag at its worst) helps, and I did find avoiding those long-haul flights with an early AM departure to make a small difference.”

MartynSinclair says: “Flying to the Far East, I will avoid an early morning arrival. I like to arrive late afternoon, go for a run, have a drink and hope I get more than three hours’ sleep. I will try to manage my time in the cabin, but have found it is far easier to ‘enjoy’ the flight and accept my first night’s sleep in Asia will be interrupted. Night two is never a problem.” 

Steam and swim

“My number one tip – and I know it’s not always possible nor practical – is an invigorating swim, ideally after a sauna or steam session,” says user canuckland. “And if you’re staying for a few days, accustoming yourself to natural light is a must, as soon as [possible]!” 

Etihad Diamond first class

Arrive a day earlier

“After many years of travelling Westbound out of the UK, I’m now travelling Eastbound much more. Particularly China, Japan, SEA and India,” says forum user seasonedtraveller. “It’s the awkward arrival times (02.30am into BOM for example) and departure times (03.00 to Colombo) that really screw me up.

“I am seriously considering arriving a full day early in future – just so that my body can cope, I’m not a young lad anymore and I find myself yawning constantly in meetings.”

Sleep as soon as you board

“For the past eight years I have been doing UK-HK, averaging three weeks UK, three weeks HK,” says user stevescoots. “To date, I have found no magic cure or sure-fire system. My routine typically is, no matter what time the flight departs, to sleep as soon as possible after takeoff, either after the first service if I am hungry or forego the food. When landing, I force myself to adapt to the new time zone.”

Clock at 12am

Force yourself to adapt

User GivingupBA says: “After decades of frequent east-west-east long-distance travel, I’ve finally concluded that for me only three things, and nothing else, work for jet lag. The most effective – when you arrive, force yourself into the new time zone, i.e. get up in the morning and go to bed at night at normal times for the new time zone.”

Artificial assistance

“To be honest, I use an unnatural (or non-natural) approach – sleeping pills,” says IanFromHKG. “Great for jolting you into the timezone.

“My golden rule for years, however, was to take them only for three nights and then stop, regardless of how I felt. As with all medications, of course, check with a doctor to ensure they are not contra-indicated.”

Did we miss anything? Join the conversation and let us know how you tackle jet lag in our forum.

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