How to Get over Jet Lag? – Helpful Tips for You

Symbolic image “How to Get Over Jet Lag”: Person Sleeping on a Red Bench at the Airport.

Since you will be crossing different time zones during a long journey, you may experience jet lag in the first few days. Daylight and darkness at night also affect your hormone levels, which can be disrupted by the time change.

But don’t worry: Jet lag is not a big deal and usually goes away after the first 1-2 days. To make it easier for your mind and body to adjust to the new time zone, a few tips can help you.

Find out how a jet lag affects you, what symptoms can occur, and how to prepare effectively in the following.

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In short: How to successfully overcome your jet lag!

➤ Quickly adapt to the new rhythm as soon as possible.

➤ Set your clock ahead in the airplane.

➤ Try to sleep on night flights.

➤ Make a stopover if possible.

➤ Don’t overexert yourself on the first day of vacation.

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag is a disruption of the body’s biological rhythm caused by quickly crossing different time zones. Jet lag occurs because the body’s internal clock gets out of sync. This is because the circadian rhythm, as the internal clock is also called, no longer matches the official time in the destination country.

Jet lag often occurs on long-distance flights and manifests in most people as sleep problems. The imbalance caused by the time difference can also lead to other symptoms in the body. Your natural eating rhythm and hormone production can also temporarily get out of sync. This is because it takes a while for your body to adjust to the changed day-night rhythm.

The word “jet lag” is composed of two terms:

“jet” = “jet aircraft” and “lag” = “time difference”.

How Does Jet Lag Affect You?

The exact effects of jet lag depend on various factors. These include, for example, the number of time zones you cross and the direction in which you fly. In addition, your personal condition can also influence how jet lag affects you and how you perceive it.

Jet Lag on Westbound Flights

These are the effects of flights westward:

➤ You are likely to be sleepier earlier in the evenings.

➤ You are likely to wake up earlier in the mornings.

When traveling across multiple time zones westward, jet lag is usually less severe. This is because it is earlier in the west than in Germany, which means your day extends by several hours. This benefits your internal clock, and people often find it easier to shift their usual sleep rhythm back a few hours.

However, you may still experience difficulty staying asleep due to the time difference in the first few days. If you tend to sleep in late but would like to wake up earlier, traveling to an area where it’s earlier than in Germany has the advantage that it happens automatically.

You are likely to wake up a few hours earlier due to the time difference, giving you the opportunity to start the day with the sun.

Jet Lag on Eastbound Flights

These are the effects of flights eastward:

➤ You are likely to stay awake longer in the evenings.

➤ You are likely to sleep longer into the morning.

With flights eastward, such as from Germany to Australia or Asia, the opposite happens: the days get shorter, and bedtime shifts forward. This often causes sleep problems for many travelers to these regions. However, jet lag in this direction usually dissipates after a few days, and you can assist with a few tips (see below).

Typical Symptoms of Jet Lag

Jet lag can be accompanied by various symptoms, which can vary from person to person and are highly individual. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • increased fatigue,
  • daytime sleepiness,
  • digestive problems,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • headaches,
  • memory problems,
  • nausea,
  • fatigue
  • and sleep problems.

Although the symptoms usually disappear on their own after a few hours or days, there are a few tips to help you overcome jet lag more quickly so you can fully enjoy your vacation from day 1.

How Long Does Jet Lag Last?

In general, jet lag can last from a few days to a week. For a time difference of 60 to 90 minutes to the destination country, your body needs about a day to synchronize its internal clock with the official clock. A larger time difference typically requires a longer adjustment period.

The duration of jet lag also depends, among other things, on whether you travel westward or eastward. In addition, the number of time zones crossed and your personal ability to adjust to a new time zone also influence the duration of jet lag.

Preventing Jet Lag with Proper Preparation – Our Tips

A pleasant start to your vacation is invaluable. To minimize the effects of jet lag, we have compiled the most important tips for you.

How to Get Over Jet Lag – Tip 1: Adjust Your Daily Routine to the New Time Zone in Advance.

To prepare yourself as best as possible for the time change, you should, if possible, start adjusting your daily routine to the new time zone a few days before departure. For a trip westward, it is advisable to stay up later in the evenings and sleep longer in the mornings – if your daily tasks and job allow it.

Tip: If, for example, you are only staying in the holiday destination for one or two days, either due to stopovers or business obligations, it is not advisable to immediately adjust to the new time zone.

Instead, it is more advisable to, if possible, maintain your usual rhythm to avoid having to adjust to a new time zone twice in quick succession.

How to Get Over Jet Lag – Tip 2: Set Your Watch Ahead While on the Plane.

It is also advisable to adjust your watch as soon as you are on the plane. This way, you can trick your brain a bit, and the new time will seem more normal to you faster.

How to Get Over Jet Lag – Tip 3: Attempt to Sleep on Overnight Flights.

It is also advisable to adjust your watch as soon as you are on the plane. This way, you can trick your brain a bit, and the new time will seem more normal to you faster.

If you fly during the nighttime hours of the destination country, you should ideally try to sleep as much as possible. This way, you can get through the following day without nap or increased fatigue.

Reusable earplugs*, a soft neck pillow*, and a light-blocking sleep mask* can support restful sleep on the plane, both during your outbound flight and on the way back home.

If you arrive in the destination country in the morning or afternoon, you will likely be tired after the long flight, especially if you departed in the evening or at night. Try to spend as much time in the daylight as possible and stay awake, going to bed at the usual time. Try to avoid napping and stay awake until evening to go to bed at the “right time.” A cooling face mask* gives you an extra dose of freshness during the day and generally contributes to your well-being. With small tricks like these, you can try to delay your wakefulness until the evening.

If you find it difficult to fall asleep in the evening, melatonin products in the form of sprays*, gums*, low-dose capsules*, and teas* can help shorten your time to fall asleep.

How to Get Over Jet Lag – Tip 4: If Possible, Schedule a Layover.

If your financial situation and schedule allow, it may also be beneficial to make a brief stop for a few days. Especially when traveling eastward, a stopover can be extremely beneficial. You could stay in a country halfway for a few nights and then continue your journey to your actual destination country. If you are flying westward and crossing the Atlantic, this is often not possible.

The advantage is that you can rest in a hotel and explore the surroundings. By engaging in physical activity, you get your circulation going and gather new energy for the upcoming flight leg. Upon arrival at your destination, you will likely quickly find that you can adjust to the new rhythm better and have fewer jet lag symptoms.

How to Get Over Jet Lag – Tip 5: Do Not Overexert Yourself on the First Day of Vacation.

Note that even the best tips cannot always completely prevent possible jet lag. Therefore, it may be advisable not to plan the arrival day and the first days of vacation with too strenuous excursions. Instead, give your body the necessary rest and plan particularly strenuous activities for the middle or end of your trip when you have already adjusted to the new time zone.

We hope that some of our tips and tricks against jet lag can help you overcome fatigue quickly in the first days of your vacation and fully enjoy your trip from day 1! 🙂

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