How can I overcome jet lag when travelling by plane? - Flightright UK

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How can I overcome jet lag?

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The most important facts about “jet lag”

  • Jet lag is caused by a time difference when travelling.
  • The body adapts to the new rhythm.
  • However, you should choose the right aeroplane food in advance.
  • You should drink enough water during the flight.
  • Adjust your relaxation exercises and sleep rhythm.
  • On arrival, make the most of daylight and exercise in the fresh air.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
  • You can adjust your sleep rhythm before travelling.
  • It is also worth researching the time change in advance.


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It is as much a part of long-haul flights as tomato juice, which only tastes good above the clouds, but many passengers would probably rather do without it. We are talking about jet lag. But what exactly is jet lag, how does it make itself feel and what is the best help against jet lag? You can find out all about it here in our new blog article.

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What is jet lag?

On a long-haul flight, passengers not only cross-country borders but also different time zones. When the time difference is several hours, sunset and sunrise times change for passengers and their internal clock. The discomfort that results is called jet lag. The symptoms can be quite different for passengers, but the feeling of tiredness is the main characteristic of jet lag.

How does jet lag manifest itself?

Most air travellers know the feeling of tiredness from jet lag. But what are other characteristics and can jet lag also occur without a time difference? Typical other symptoms of jet lag can include stomach problems, headaches, irritability and pronounced sleep disturbances. Some passengers get over jet lag surprisingly quickly, while others may have to deal with it for days or weeks. So it is very individual how strongly someone reacts to a time difference. Jet lag can also occur without a time difference and without travelling to distant countries. This can happen when the inner biological clock can no longer be reconciled with everyday life and work. A kind of permanent jet lag develops.

What helps against jet lag?

It is usually impossible to avoid jet lag on a long-haul flight. But some measures can be taken to counteract jet lag. But what can be done against jet lag at home, how can preventive measures be taken? It is advisable to get used to the rhythm and time of the destination before departure. Flights to Asia or Australia should be approached differently than, for example, flights to the USA or South America. If you are travelling to the West, the flight should, if possible, be booked so that you arrive at your destination around midday, as this makes it easier to stay awake until the evening.

At home, you should try to go to bed late in the days before the trip to slowly get used to the time. If jet lag is to be prevented heading east, it is the other way around. Go to bed early before the trip and get up early. During a long-haul flight heading east, try to get plenty of sleep on board. On westbound journeys, try to stay awake on board instead. Drinking regularly as well as exercising on the plane will help prevent you from falling asleep.

This might also interest you:
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The law on hand luggage: What holidaymakers should know in the event of flight problems.

Tips against jet lag

  • Start preparing against jet lag at home
  • Adjust your sleep-wake rhythm to a different time zone.
  • Eat light food on the flight that does not make you tired and sluggish.
  • If possible, plan a stopover to get used to the time change more slowly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the flight, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • On arrival, get used to the day and nighttimes in your destination country as quickly as possible.
  • Get plenty of sunshine and fresh air to counteract fatigue.

How long does it take to overcome jet lag?

During the jet lag, the body only gradually adjusts to the new local time and environment. It also depends on the direction of the flight, the number of time zones and the individual’s condition, and can take up to two weeks to fight jet lag. On average, our body needs about one day to cope with a time difference of 60 to 90 minutes. The direction of the flight is very decisive for the severity of the jet lag. When flying west, i.e. to North or South America, the day can be extended by eight hours, for example. Flights to the east, i.e. to Asia or Australia, shorten the day by eight hours. So for flights to the east, problems falling asleep are typical, whereas, for flights to the west, problems sleeping through the day are typical.

Why is jet lag worse when flying east?

The question of which direction is jet lag worse can be answered in most cases with the direction east. Eastbound jet lag is usually more severe because the day is shortened, and you lose time, whereas westbound jet lag gains time. Since most people have an internal day-night rhythm that is about a little longer than 24 hours, it is easier to lengthen the day by flying west. On the other hand, shortening the day by flying eastward upsets the body more. Stomach problems, headaches, irritability and pronounced sleep disturbances can result and take longer to recover from.

How can Flightright help you?

Jet lag is not the biggest worry you have? Perhaps your bags are already packed, but now the airline is getting in the way of your holiday happiness? Your flight is overbooked, delayed or cancelled?

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