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Wellness Travel Hack: How to Combat Jet Lag

Jet lag can turn any exciting travel experience into an exhausting and sometimes overwhelming trip ordeal. What is jet lag, exactly? Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when your body’s natural circadian rhythms are disrupted by crossing time zones. Symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and appetite shifts.

ComfyNorth’s founder Alex Savy is here to help. ComfyNorth is a Toronto-based blog dedicated to giving readers advice on improving their sleep and analyzing sleep products. The team works to thoroughly check the market, trying products and conducting research to help readers find the right products for them. 

Leveraging his extensive experience in overcoming jet lag, Savy shares his tried-and-true strategies for ensuring an invigorating travel experience.

International Arrivals at London Heathrow

Gradually Adjust Your Schedule

“Jet lag isn’t inevitable,” says Savy. He believes it’s all about adjusting your internal body clock to the new time zone, something achievable with a strategic approach. His first recommendation? “Start adjusting your schedule a few days before departure.” For instance, if you’re traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each day. If heading west, do the opposite.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is another essential component of Savy’s anti-jet lag regimen. “The dry cabin air can dehydrate you, exacerbating feelings of fatigue and disorientation,” he explains. He suggests avoiding alcohol and caffeine during flights, both notorious for their dehydrating effects, and instead drinking plenty of water.

Singapore Airlines first class cabin

Seek Light Exposure

Savy swears by the power of light exposure in resetting our internal body clocks. “After arrival, spend as much time as possible outside during daylight hours,” he advises. This natural light exposure can help realign your circadian rhythm with the local time.

Get Rest During Flight

Savy also promotes a proactive approach to sleep during the flight. “Use a sleep mask and noise-canceling headphones, or even consider a mild sleep aid if necessary,” Savy suggests, emphasizing the importance of rest during long-haul flights.

Taking off at night. Photo courtesy of Pixells Art.

While these tips won’t completely eliminate jet lag for everyone, they can significantly reduce its impact. Of course, everyone is different and may need to tweak these strategies for maximum effectiveness. “Be patient with yourself,” says Savy. “Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.”

As travelers increasingly seek expert advice for smoother journeys, Alex Savy’s practical tips for beating jet lag are more valuable than ever. His insights provide a roadmap for frequent flyers to reclaim their travel experiences from the clutches of jet lag.

Yoga class at the Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi 
Mandarin Oriental spa in Madrid

We also check with a spa expert from Mandarin Oriental hotels, who offers the following wellness advice for combating jet lag.

Spa and Wellness Tips for Jet Lag 

  • As soon as you get on the plane, set your watch to your destination time. Eat and sleep in accordance with this time frame.
  • If you travel often, try supplementing 200mg of magnesium citrate in morning and evening each day. This may help to stabilize adrenals, improve circulation, improve blood sugar levels. 
  • Upon arrival, take a brisk walk or jog to get the circulation moving again.
  • Try not to drink alcohol the day before flying, during your flight, or the day of arrival to avoid dehydration and headaches. Limit caffeinated tea and coffee during your flight and arrival day, too.
  • If arriving during the day, try to stay up until early evening and then sleep for the night. If arriving at night, try not to sleep or sleep just a little on the plane. This will help you sleep through your first night.
  • Do not eat carbohydrates if arriving in the evening. If arriving during the day, eat carbohydrates to provide you with the extra energy.
Abu Dhabi beach

A recent study by MMGY Global shows that 80 percent of U.S. travelers are still interested in going to international destinations through the first quarter of 2024. These flights are anything but short, so travelers turn to tips, tricks, and gadgets to help get them to their destination without too much of a toll.

Planet 9 long haul aviation

Planet 9 is a Los Angeles-based private aviation company specializing in long-haul travel. Hilary Clark, Director of Inflight Service for the company (and a former flight attendant) shares her best tips to handle lengthy flights whether private or commercial. 

In-flight entertainment is key to making the time pass by faster

Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to block out ambient noise. 

Load up on portable devices such as an e-reader, tablet, or game set with access to your favorite books, movies, and games to hold your focus. 

Comfort is your best friend

Wear loose-fitting clothes, allowing for better circulation and movement while in flight. 

Remember layers, like a light sweat or scarf, as the cabin temperature can vary. 

Prepare for your flight with comfort items. A travel pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs can all assist in providing a more comfortable and relaxing environment. 

Get those legs moving

Try performing simple exercises such as ankle circles, shoulder rolls, and neck stretches to improve circulation and reduce stiffness. 

Take short walks around the cabin to stretch your legs and help prevent deep vein thrombosis. 

Invest in an Oura Ring to help track your sleep and activity. 

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