Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue December 01 2015

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | December 1, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    How To Dodge Jet Lag

    How To Dodge Jet Lag

    Skipping across continents supplies lots of exciting experiences and great Insta pix — with one major drawback: cross more than a few time zones and your circadian rhythms go completely haywire. Yes, I speak of the affliction known as jet lag. Symptoms include feeling like a zombie for most of your trip, or never managing to grab a good night’s sleep for weeks. Then there’s my favorite — not being able to remember many details because your mind was so fuzzy during your journey. But there are ways to avoid jet lag and travel clear-headed and well rested. Give these methods a try:

    Reset Your Clock

    If possible, adjust your schedule to the time zone you'll be traveling to a couple of weeks before you leave. I know it's not completely feasible to switch you life around, especially if it's an eight to fourteen-hour difference, but even adjusting your schedule by one of two hours can make the transition easier on your body. There's even a website, Jetlag Rooster, that helps calculate your current schedule to the time zone you'll be traveling to.


    I am a sleep warrior when it comes to guarding my slumber schedule. I can function for a while without food or water but take way my snooze time and it's all over. I can't concentrate or communicate well without sleep. So it goes without saying that I stock up on quality sleep before my trip. And you should too.

    Don't set off on your travels frazzled and worn out because this will make it harder to adjust to your new schedule. Be as well rested as possible before your trip and try to sleep sufficiently during the plane ride. That means avoiding alcohol, caffeine or any other stimulants before and during your flight. Slip on cozy socks and a sleep mask and try to grab as much sleep as possible on that cramped airliner.


    It's the sun that helps set your internal sleep cycle, so getting enough of it is key. Make sure you soak up some rays through the plane window and when you arrive, walk around in the daylight and fight the urge to hole up in your hotel for a nap. According to sleep doctors, prolonged exposure to sunlight is the most effective method of resetting your circadian clock. Indeed, from my experience, sun, plus plenty of fresh air are great ways to get into the new rhythms once you land.

    Natural Remedies

    Since sleeping pills and prescriptions usually make it more difficult to adjust to a new sleep schedule once they have worn off, many travelers try natural remedies. Lavender rubbed on the temples and sprinkled on pillows, chamomile tea and valerian herbal capsules are all soothing and conducive for sleep. Some people also swear by the natural hormone of melatonin but I've experienced disturbing nightmares from it, which is one of the side effects. Your mileage may vary.


    There's a lot to be said for physical exertion helping your body to reset to a new schedule. A good workout or brisk walk can work wonders when you have trouble sleeping in a new destination. On a recent trip to Prague, I joined a three-hour walking tour of the city within 20 minutes of landing. Suffice it to say, I slept very deeply during my first night in that European city.

    Do you have any jet lag-fighting remedies or routines that weren’t covered here? Let me know in comments.


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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