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Tips for minimizing jet lag

SmarterTravel

Headache, fatigue, and upset stomach are just some of symptoms that can result from long-distance flying. Because jet lag can make the first days of your vacation or your return to life at home hazy, it pays to take steps to combat it.

  • Rest up in advance: Pretend you are leaving a day earlier than scheduled so you get all your packing, errands, and other preparations done ahead of time.
  • Stay hydrated: To avoid dehydration, skip the coffee, soda, and alcohol, and drink lots of water.
  • Be careful with medications: Some flyers use the dietary supplement melatonin to combat the effects of jet lag. I’ve never tried it, but some scientific studies have shown positive results. Sleep aids may be a bad idea as their effects can outlast your flight. Whatever the case, you should talk to your doctor before taking any medications for flying.
  • Set your watch: Set your watch to your new time zone as soon as your flight departs so you can start training your brain on the new schedule.
  • Rest on the plane if you can: Bring items that might help you sleep, such as earplugs, neck pillows, and eye covers. When awake, try to stretch and walk around a little to ward off stiffness and cramps.
  • Stay awake until the evening when you arrive: It’s painful, but you’ll have an easier time on the rest of your trip if you can stay awake at least until the early evening of the first day.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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