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marmoset's avatar

Jet lag prevention?

Asked by marmoset (975 points ) October 23rd, 2012 from iPhone

For my first very long set of flights. I have a neck pillow for sleeping (I usually do an okay job sleeping in flight), an inflatable footrest, earplugs, and a water bottle to stay hydrated. What else should I think about?

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15 Answers

Judi's avatar

There was some sort of homeoptthic product I bought at a health food store and was amazed at how well it worked. Maybe it was this?

Tachys's avatar

Some Advil liquid caps – they can help you sleep. Avoid alcohol. Order a special meal, they serve those first. Take off your shoes.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I always found staying awake until bed time local and getting up at my accustomed time (adjusted to local) worked well. It can be pretty exhausting that first day but a solid 8–10 hours that first night and I usually find I’m waking up, refreshed and ready, at my usual time the very next morning.

I also try to adjust (eating, sleeping) to local while flying as best as possible. Depending on your flight and arrival time that can mean getting up extra early the day of the flight and adjusting your eating schedule prior to getting to the airport.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you flying east or west? Red eye flight? Red eye traveling east, usually I can stay awake a good part of the day on the limited sleep I had in flight, crash early for the night, and then I wake up the next morning almost completely adjusted. Flying west I have more problems if the time change is 5+ hours.

Wearing a paper mask when you sleep will prevent you from getting very dry in your throat and nasal passages. Japan Air gives them out on international flights, I was surprised how much I appreciated it.

marmoset's avatar

Thank you all! It’s a 30-real-hours trip east (18 hrs total on two flights + trains and ground transport + layover). It starts 6am my time and ends 1am local time. So it will make local sense for me to sleep when I arrive.

Thanks for the excellent thought about paper mask maintaining a higher humidity level around the mouth – I will bring one. Definitely will avoid alcohol, thanks.

Homeopathics don’t have a material effect (they clearly have a placebo effect given all the recommendations I’ve seen for the pills).

JLeslie's avatar

@marmoset Since there is so much travel time you can kind of sleep, nap, and adjust during the travel. Although, I am going to assume your time change is a lot of hours, so you will probably be a little screwed up for sleep. For example, a flight from NY to London, maybe the flight is 7 hours, so the sleep someone gets is maybe 5 hours, and then they are suppossed to be fresh for the long day ahead. You will have probably a good 8 hours you can sleep, although a little divided, and then you can nap from 3am-8am when you get there. So, in a 24 hour time span, 8ish hours, plus 5 hours isn’t bad.

FYI the masks were very light weight and loose fitting.

gailcalled's avatar

I can’t help with jet lag since I have never found a solution; but you might consider a spray bottle of Ocean or Ayre, a saline solution, to spritz in nostrils if they dry out.

Or just make your own; 1 t salt to 1 .c water. Put in spritz bottle.

RocketGuy's avatar

What works for me is that I walk in the sun during the day in the new time zone. Sunlight is supposed to dissolve melatonin, which would make you sleepy. Then at night, I go to bed at the usual time (but in the new time zone). Melatonin pills help a lot if I can’t sleep at that time or if I wake up way too early. A few days of sun and melatonin at the right times is all I need.

skfinkel's avatar

Check out “jet lag diets”—I recall my mother-in-law (who was very rigorous when she followed this kind of recommendation) having certain proteins at specific times when she came and visited us in England many years ago. It was funny, but I think she thought it worked.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^The MOL who was my mother? Wow.

Bellatrix's avatar

Most recent long haul flights – Australia – UK and then back.

Avoid drinking alcohol.

I don’t normally take sleeping pills ever, but I know I can’t sleep when travelling. So I got my Dr to prescribe some and took a sleeping pill when I got on the plane and slept for a few hours. I think that really helped.

When you get there, try not to sleep until it is sleep time in your location. Avoid napping. Even if you feel tired. Get out and keep busy in the sunshine (as has been suggested). Keep hydrated.

I didn’t really suffer jet lag badly at all doing this – in either direction.

Coloma's avatar

I think you just have to wing it, I have never heard of any sure fire methods.
Last trip I flew 13 hours from asia non-stop and landed at SFO at midnight and then drove 2.5 hours home. I clipped my garage wall pulling in and ripped a chunk of wood off the side. haha

That was the jet lag that prompted me to discover fluther while lying on the couch the next morning and here I still am 2.5 years later.
Longest case of jet lag known to man. lol

Jeruba's avatar

A friend who used to travel to India frequently said that her magic formula was to stay up until the clock showed her normal bedtime at home, even if that meant being up more than 24 hours, and then use melatonin to get right to sleep. She swore it worked to overcome both the time change and jet lag.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba If I did that I would get sick half the time. Lack of sleep seems to wear down my immunity.

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