I have no magic cure for jet lag. All those tips and tricks about setting your watch, eating certain types of foods, taking supplements, adjusting your sleep schedule days and weeks before flying . . . I don’t know if any of it helps for sure. We may be able to fool the mind but it’s hard to fool the body.
I don’t go to extremes to try to cure jet lag. But I have found the following tips make it easier:
- Drink plenty of and only water (yes, even if it means using the stinky airplane bathrooms)
- Fly at night, so you have a better chance of sleeping on board — bring your own wrap/blanket, pillow and eye mask. I promise it is worth it!
- Eat a healthy meal before boarding and don’t eat the airplane food, especially the tempting sugary snacks — avoid the free for all Tim Tams at all costs!
- When you arrive at your destination, jump right in. Don’t nap.
- Sweat it out! Fresh air and exercise are great but a real sweat session is even better.
- Fly the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner* (pictured above) if possible. They say the air circulation is different, the vibration different, turbulence is reduced, even the lighting is better. Maybe it’s a bunch of marketing malarkey but having flown the Dreamliner in both directions between Los Angeles and Australia recently I can honestly say for the first time, I had absolutely no jet lag upon arrival (in fact after a 2 hour walk in the sunshine I was feeling absolutely euphoric) and was fully back and adjusted on my normal schedule within just a couple of days on the way home. Never been able to say that before.
*I flew both the American Airlines and Qantas versions of this plane. While American offered 5″ of extra leg room for only 50 dollars in coach (a real comfort boost for little cost), I found and always prefer the Qantas experience. More detail and care go into the customer experience on Qantas from the seat design, to the airplane layout, to the service and general attitude of the crew. Although there is still no way to avoid a full aircraft regardless — both airlines fill every last seat. It is astounding to me how many people fly to Australia and back each day!