Jet lag is real. 10 tips to get over jet lag quicker

10 Tips to get over jet lag faster

Cartoon images of clocks for New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Person looking at a watch. Man sleeping with a book in his hand. Text that says "Jet Lag Is Real".

You have just stepped out of the plane to explore your dream destination. But all you feel is fatigue after the long flight. Your mind seems to be working at a snail’s pace, and you actually feel a little dizzy. That’s it, you’ve been hit by Jet Lag! We are here to help with 10 Tips to get over jet lag faster.

Where is the excitement and enthusiasm for the trip? You feel so drained and all you need at the moment is a quiet place to sleep. But it is lunchtime and the sun is shining so brightly. You need to get on track quickly. Here are our 10 tips to get over jet lag faster.

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So, say HELLO to jetlag!

When your time zone shifts more than three hours while traveling then get ready to be hit by jetlag. Our body biorhythm gets confused while we move around day and night.

We have been programming our bodies since we were kids and then within a matter of a few hours, we flip our circadian rhythm upside down. Giving us extreme fatigue, the haze or fuzzy memory feeling, along with concentration issues, loss of appetite, and even bowel problems or discomfort. This feeling gets worse while you cross more time zones. Jet Lag can ruin your trip before it begins. Try out these tips to get over jet lag faster and get on with your vacation quickly.

Even if you haven’t traveled but you have had to adjust your sleeping schedule, you could experience jet lag. The more you move you sleeping schedule, the more likely you will need these 10 Tips to get over let lag faster!

How long does it take to get over jet lag?

Collage of three images of people and kids feeling tired as they are trying to get over jet lag.
Jet Lag affects all ages

I remember when my oldest daughter was about 6 years old, we traveled to California for a vacation. She had heard us talking about jet lag from my husband’s recent trip. He had just returned from Asia. Our flight was only 90 minutes and only one-hour time change.

She was trying to be grown-up when she chimed in and said: “yeah this one hour time change is going to give me jet lag” 🙂

Even though you will most likely not get jet lag from an hour time change, there are many factors to consider when figuring out how long it will take to get over jet lag and it affects everyone differently.

Jet lag’s effects vary depending on your age, general health, and stress level. In order to adjust to the situation, you will have to at least settle down and relax for a day. This way, your body will adopt the new changes and function well in the new time zone.

We have always found that our kids adjust to a new time zone in just a day or two. For myself and my husband, it usually takes us 2 to 3 nights before we start to feel adjusted.

So, what tips can you use to get over jet lag faster? Here are some of the best ways that we’ve found that can work for you to get over or recover quickly from your jet lag.

Tip #1 – Prepare Yourself Before the Departure:

Baby sleeping as she adjusts to a new time zone.
Adjust your sleep before you leave

If you know that jetlag is going to be a major issue for you then get ready at home before your flight. Depending upon the time zone of your destination, schedule your sleep routine differently than normal.

If you are traveling to the east then try to sleep early. Whereas, if you are traveling to the west then stay awake two to three hours extra.

The time you wake up should match with the sleep routine that you will keep at your destination as well. You should start following this routine a few days before your departure.

As much as this is a great tip; I have to be honest, I have never done this. Usually, life is just too busy with work, kids, and activities to try to go to bed early and let’s face it I’m way too tired from life to wake up any earlier.

Tip #2 – Drink Plenty of Water:

Dehydration can even make jet lag worse. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink lots of water. You actually want to start drinking extra water 24 hours before your flight.

Up close of glass of water with child smiling in the background. Used to show staying hydrating helps you get over jet lag faster.
Add flavors and fresh mint to your water so you drink more.

Drinking extra the day before your flight will help with the dry air inside the plane as well. You will experience the air inside the airplanes is dry and that is the reason why our skin stretches.

Therefore, it is very important to keep yourself hydrated for your entire trip. If you start your trip dehydrated, your jet lag will be so much worse from the minute you land.

I always try to make this fun for my kids. We make Kool-Aid the day before and we make sure to drink it all 🙂 Then during the trip, we always let them pick out fun drinks either at gas stations or sometimes I will pack a few fun drinks in my carry on.

Make hydration fun and keep it interesting for yourself and your kids before during and even after your trip. Add flavors to your water, drink juices, and even let you kids have a few of those sugary drinks that you usually say no to. There are great low-calorie options available or slice up a lemon or lime to give it some flavor. This will drastically help your fatigue. If you are needing a coffee substitute, I like to add a Crystal Lite Energy to my water bottle to help me after I land to stay awake.

Child in a blue shirt drinking red fruit smoothie through a straw.
Try fruit smoothies to help hydrate your kids.

One last note, go light on the alcohol and caffeine the day before you fly and on the flight. Both of these will affect your sleep schedule and we don’t need to complicate that anymore. Getting the proper amount asleep is essentail to beat jet lag.

So drink water before and during your flight. Trust me, you will feel less fatigued after you land. This way you will start your trip off on the right foot.

I always pack a water bottle for myself on the airplane and with me while I’m touring places. My favorite water bottle is this fun motivational water bottle on Amazon. The sayings on the side are surprisingly very motivating and keep me drinking all day.

Tip #3 – Get your sleep on track with the new time zone on the plane:

Set your watch to the new time zone while you board the plane. This way, you will be mentally prepared for the new changes while you are on the plane.

After changing the time, keep yourself awake if it is daytime where you are heading so that you will fall asleep soon after you reach. If it is night time at your destination, try to get at least 2 to 3 hours of sleep during the flight.

Bright pink toy airplane with a child smiling in the window.
Use the time on the plane to adjust to the new time zone.

This process will help you feel better when you land and you won’t even have to waste time sleeping at weird hours. You will either be able to hit the ground running or head straight to bed as soon as you land. As long as it is night time and you can sleep 5-6 hours, you will be pretty well rested for the next day’s adventure.

Plane your flight around the time of day that you will be landing at your destination. If you are going to land late at night, you will want to stay awake for most of the flight. This will help you sleep when you arrive and get you on the new time zone quicker.

Tips for staying awake on the long flight

My youngest daughter always falls asleep on planes. She typically falls asleep on take-off. If you are like her, it might be hard to stay awake while you are on the plane because of the calm and quiet atmosphere but get yourself engaged in doing something. The roaring of the engines can make anyone sleepy.

Baby sleeping in parents arms on an airplane.
Staying awake on a plane can be difficult!

Get up and move around the plane. Don’t be afraid to walk the aisles. Keeping your body moving even on the flight can help with the sense of jet lag.

Pack yourself an activity that will help entertain you during the long flight. I like to pack a crossword and books. I also like to use this time to Binge-watch my favorite shows on Netflix. This is a great time to catch up on a hobby that you haven’t had time to try.

To keep my kids awake, I pack similar things. I like to pack small “presents” for them to unwrap while we are on the plane. I usually buy a few small toys or activity books for them at Target’s Dollar Spot. The excitement of a present usually keeps them wired until after take-off. Then the joy of a new toy keeps them awake for a while.

Girl watching an electronic device on an airplane with colorful headphones. Staying awake on the airplane helps with jet lag.
Let your kid’s binge-watch tablets during a flight to help them stay awake

If your kids are into video games, buy them a new game and pack their device. My daughter loves taking her Nintendo Switch on the long flights. I’ll be honest I love to play a game or two of Mario Cart to help pass the time and the kids love that we play video games with them on the flight. This is the perfect opportunity to let them master their new game without the mom guilt of too much screen time.

I also like to walk the aisles with my kids, it keeps them awake and moving. Another idea is to have your kids take a nap on the day of your flight so they can stay awake longer.

Anything that will keep you and your kids awake is worth it, so you can all start your trip off right.

Should I sleep on the airplane for jet lag? Here are some Sleeping on an airplane tips:

If it is going to be daytime when you arrive at your destination, make sure to get at least 2 to 3 hours of sleep on the plane. This will help you stay awake the whole day when you arrive.

Sleeping on a plane can the worst! But we’ve got some tips to make it easier for you.

My first tip is to pack something to cover your eyes. I like to wear a hoodie that I can pull down over my eyes when I’m ready to sleep. It’s easier for me than carrying an eye mask. But my kids and prefer eye masks.

Next, I recommend bringing something to put your feet up on. Especially for kids. I like the blow-up footrest to prop your feet up on the plane from Amazon pictures below when I’m taking a really long haul flight.

My kids usually sleep a lot longer when we’ve used these. I love to use the lower version to prop my feet up while I sleep.

If noise bothers you, pack something to block the noise. You can buy noise-canceling headphones on Amazon for around $230. I like the ones below.

Or you can try my favorite trick to falling asleep on the plane. This trick works great with any headphones. I like to put on my hoodie, cover my eyes, put up my feet, and then put on meditation for sleep. This works every time! I’m asleep in less than 10 minutes.

Check out the one below for a great example:

This works great for kids too! Here is an example of a good one for kids.

**Make sure to download the video you like best so that you can use it on the plane.

Overall, try to remember that the airplane flight is the beginning of your trip. The time on the plane should be used wisely to start your journey off perfectly.

**Pro-tip~ You can also use these meditation videos to help you fall asleep the first few nights at your new destination as well.

Tip #4 – Split up your trip:

Map of the world, showing how to split up a long trip as one of 10 tips to get over jet lag quickly.
Split up your long haul trip with a stopover in a new country or place.

If you have the time, you can do a stopover in a city where you would normally layover. Rather than taking multiple long flights to the destination try to build in stopovers. This way, your body will get more time to adapt to the new time zone as you travel across the world.

When we lived in Asia, traveling back and forth to the United States with our kids was so difficult. We learned that if we split up our journey, the whole family did better with jet lag.

Since we had to layover in Tokyo, we thought why not stay for a day or two. Since we were starting with a 9-hour flight from Singapore to Tokyo, and then we would still have another 10 hours from Tokyo to Seattle. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us.

Take a stopover in a city to help your adjust and have less jet lag.
Tokyo, Japan is a great place to stop on your way to other parts of Asia

Those are 2 long flights for anyone let alone traveling with kids. So we decided to break it up into 2 parts and stay in Tokyo for 2 nights. If you are not sure about Japan, here is how to plan a trip to Japan.

This trick definitely helped our jet lag. Especially but not completely exhausting us from traveling for over 24-hours. When we arrived back in the States, we were adjusted to the new time in about half the days it normally takes us when we don’t split up the trip.

This is even a budget-friendly tip as well. Most of the time, the airline only charges a small fee to stopover. It’s a great way to see another city and ease into a new time zone.

Tip #5 – Say Yes to Nighttime Flights:

The best possible situation for a long haul flight with kids is for the kids to sleep through most of the flight. But it can be extremely difficult sometimes to get your kids to sleep on a plane. Well, my best trick for this is to book a nighttime flight.

Also, if you board a nighttime flight, you will most likely reach your destination during the day. Booking a nighttime flight is a good idea for your kids as they will have enough time to take rest and combat jetlag.

Couple standing together in front of a famous landmark in Malaysia.
Get out and explore on your first day after resting on the plane.

Then when you arrive at your destination, you will be able to stay awake because you will see the sun shining bright. Perhaps, you will be tempted to explore the new place even though if you feel a bit low.

The faster you get your sleep aligned with the new time zone, the faster you will get over your jet lag. So staying awake on your first day is extremely important.

If possible, we always book night flights when traveling with our kids if the flight is 6 hours or more. By the time we get settled into our seat they crash and sleep for a good portion of the flight.

We, the parents, on the other hand, don’t always get the sleep we need, but if our kids are well-rested for the next day, their attitudes are better and easier to deal with.

If you are flying with a baby, check out our post for some great tips on how to keep the baby happy and how to book a bassinet on an airplane.

Tip #6 – What about sleeping Pills to help with jet lag?

If you are already on sleeping pills than check with your doctor on how to adjust your dose to help with jet lag.

If you plan to take your sleeping pill on your flight, make sure that you are flying long enough. You don’t want to take your sleeping pill and get to your destination while its effects are still strong.

We have found for us and for our kids, that melatonin works great on the long haul flights and when adjusting to new time zones. We will use this on night flights longer than 8 hours. This has helped all of us feel more rested when we arrive at the new location.

Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that your body produces during its normal sleeping cycle. It is a great way to help your body adjust to a new time zone. Taking melatonin signals your body that it is time to sleep.

We find children’s melatonin at all major stores in the US. And we always check with their pediatrician before. We give our kids Zarbee’s melatonin. They take it well because it has a great flavor and just the child’s dose works well to help our kids sleep.

We have also found that using melatonin on the first few nights of our stay works really well. Not to fall asleep, because you will most likely crash, but when you wake up in the middle of the night in the new timezone.

Take melatonin to help you get back to sleep so that you are rested for the next day. We use Natrol melatonin for the adults when we are traveling to get us on track.

Tip #7 – Have you heard of Earthing or Grounding?

Kick-off your shoes and find a patch of grass or ground that you can walk around on or sit on. Some claim that long haul flights disrupt our body’s electrical charge, and is one of the reasons we have the feeling of jet lag.

Author David Asprey, says in his book Head Strong “When you go up in an aeroplane, you build up a static charge in your body that slows the mitochondrial function.”

Try to find grass or dirt, a place where you can touch the earth. Concreate can work if it is not sealed and directly on the earth. Taking your shoes off in a hotel room won’t have quite the same effect, but if you can’t find some grass or maybe it is winter. Try this grounding mat that you can pack with you on your flight. It’s a great way to get over your jet lag faster.

** Pro-Tip~ Put on a pair of flip flops and go for a walk in a nearby park, or if you are in the city, try to find a garden or patch of ground. By having flip flops on it is easy to slide off and place your feet on the ground.

If you can’t find a place to ground yourself and get your electrical chargeback; here is a grounding mat that is available and easy to take with you or have when you get back from your travels.

Tip #8 – Exercise is one of the most effective ways to recover from jet lag:

You are already exhausted and the last thing you want to hear is to get moving. Exercise actually boosts your endorphins and will help you stretch out those legs that have been cramped up on the plane.

Once you get to your place where you will be staying, hit the gym, go for a run or a brisk walk. If you can’t do any of those, Youtube has a ton of exercise videos for small spaces or hotel rooms.

Also read: How to workout in a hotel room and small spaces.

One of our favorites is Millionaire hoy. I love his workouts when I’m traveling with my kids because I can sneak in a workout in the hotel room quietly while they are still sleeping.

Check out his “Silent but deadly” series for some great quiet workouts.

You can also download his videos from his site ( to save for later.

Best exercise videos to do when traveling, in a hotel, or small space.

For some more awesome tips on how to have fun on vacation but still work out and stay fit check out Pink Caddy’s post here.

Tip #9 – Power Through it – Don’t let jet lag spoil your vacation:

On day one, try to make it to as close as bedtime as possible. This will help to get you on track for the next day and adjust more quickly. Worst is if you arrive during the day, and go back to your room and sleep for a few hours. Don’t do this!

I have been known to fall asleep in the strangest places during the first few days. Jet lag is so real, my eyes literally cannot stay open if I sit down. So staying busy to help yourself stay awake and conquer jet lag.

Next, you have to try to get your self up on time in the new time zone and it’s even harder than staying awake. When your alarm goes off and it feels like you have only had an hour or two of sleep you realize how big the struggle is for overcoming jet lag.

Jet lag is cruel, when you actually want to sleep, you can’t or you are wide awake because it’s day time at home. But try to get up at a normal time. Shower, go for a walk, go to the gym, but get rolling on your daily routine to help wake you up.

Mother holding baby and an older daughter posing in front of a Japanese gate.
Tired kids, keep them awake even when it’s hard. It will help their jet lag.

I know it can be tough, but the first day is crucial, get yourself moving and stay active during the day. The endorphins released during exercise will help ease the effects of jet lag.

We’ve even done this with our kids to help get them back on track. Try to plan some activities that keep them active as well. When they get sleepy, we try to take them to a park or a place where they can run and play.

Try sightseeing on the first afternoon. Keep your mind active as well, this will help you stay awake. Don’t make anything too strenuous or you will not enjoy it as much.

Grab a cup of coffee or something that can give you a boost of energy to help you power through the day.

Tip #10 – Eating healthy

1- On the Plane or in the Airport: Try to avoid foods that are high in sodium. These foods tend to bloat you and make you retain water. It’s a good idea as you are traveling to not overeat. Save your appetite for when you get to your destination.
2- New time zone: Make sure you switch to eating in the new time zone as soon as you can. Try to eat all 3 meals at the time you normally would but on the new time zone.
3- Eat healthily: Eating healthy makes a huge difference in the way we feel without having switched timezones. Reach for some fruit or vegetables to begin every meal or snack.

You might be excited to try the local cuisine, but ease your way into it, or pick the healthier options to begin. Let your body and stomach get adjusted to the new time, and then the new food.

I’m not sure why, but I always get nauseous with jet lag. Sometimes this lasts for a full week or two. So, I always pack antiacids and Peptobismal in my carry on bag.

If you notice your stomach is upset the first few days, it’s most likely just jet lag. Take an antiacid or Peptobismal and you’ll feel better pretty quickly. Actually Peptobismal or a similar stomach relief chew is something that I take with me when I travel internationally.

Wrapping Up on 10 Tips to get over Jet lag faster

Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate jet lag after a long haul flight and a new time zone. Whether it’s a one hour time change or a 13 hour time change, jet lag is real! But the ten ways mentioned above will surely reduce the effects and feelings of jet lag, and help you recover quickly.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should force yourself to stay awake or sleep on the new time and adapt to the new routine as quickly as possible.

However, you will get over jet lag faster within one to two days and then you can jump into your new adventure with lots of energy.

Learn how to find and book cheap airfare for your next holiday vacation.

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How long does it take to recover from jet lag?

Jet lag varies from person to person. Jet lag usually appears the 2nd day of your trip. The quicker you can adjust to the new time zone the quicker you will get over jet lag. Try to sleep on the new time zone’s schedule as normally and quickly as possible. Typically you will be very tired on the first day. It’s best to stay awake on the first day until 8:00pm in the new time zone. This will help you adjust quickly.

How do you get over jet lag fast?

There are lots of great ways to get over jet lag fast. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Stay hydrated before and during your trip.
2. Sleep on the new time zone’s schedule as quickly as possible, starting while you are on the plane. If it is daytime in the new time zone stay awake on the plane.
3. Try grounding as soon as you arrive at your destination. Grounding works wonders and it is as simple as putting your bare feet on solid grass, dirt, sand, or other natural Earth in the new destination.
4. Exercise on a regular basis. This will help your body expel energy and shows your body when it is time to be awake in the new time zone.
5. Eat meals when it is a normal mealtime in the new time zone. Sometimes you have to force yourself to eat in a new time zone this way your body learns schedules on the new time zone.

What is the feeling of jet lag?

Jet lag happens when you have to switch your sleeping schedule. This can happen when you travel or if you are working a swing shift. Jet lag has the following symptoms:
1. Feeling of brain fog, like you can’t think clearly
2. Excessive tiredness
3. Not able to sleep for long periods of time or at all
4. Upset stomach
5. Headache
6. Slightly disoriented

How to cope with jet lag at home?

Jet lag at home is usually worse than jet lag at a new destination. You do not have the excitement of a new place to give you energy. So now you need to adjust back to your normal time zone at home. The following things will help!
1. Keep your home bright during the day. This will tell your brain it is day time.
2. Do stay awake during the day. If you take a nap, keep it short, under one hour.
3. Drink lots of water, staying hydrated helps your body function properly.
4. Exercise during the day time. This will give you energy when you need it.
5. Get outside.
6. Sleep at your normal sleeping time. Use melatonin or other natural products to help you sleep when it’s time to sleep.


January 27, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Great tips! I try to sleep on the plane when I can…it definitely helps.

January 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm

I’m a huge fan of red eye flights and sleeping — it helps set you up for the right time zone when you land. The grounding is a new one for me – I’ll give it a try on my next trip 🙂

    January 29, 2020 at 5:43 am

    I have learned to love night flights. It’s easier to sleep on the plane than flying during the day. I have tried grounding a few times and it seems to help, but it’s hard to say what works best.

January 27, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Wonderful tips. I’m about to embark on a long-haul flight from Rome to Sydney, stopping in Singapore for an hour and a half. Concerned about this new flu.

    January 29, 2020 at 5:40 am

    I’ve heard great things about Sydney! Make sure to wash your hands and take sanitizing wipes for the plane, airplanes are the worst. We live in Kuala Lumpur and I am so worried about the virus too!

January 27, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Jet lag is NO JOKE. My son gets HORRIBLE jetlag, complete with vomiting, if he doesn’t drink a ton of water on travel days. When we flew 14 hours to Dubai, he slept most of the way there, which was good and bad. That meant he skipped the meal services. When we finally arrived, he was very dehydrated and spent most of the next 24 hours sick. It happened when we flew to Paris, too, and we missed an entire day sightseeing. But now we know how to fix it. Lots and lots of water.

    January 29, 2020 at 5:38 am

    Jet lag is the worst. People underestimate how strong jet lag can be. I always get sick on airplanes if I sleep too long. I agree staying hydrated is a big deal! Thanks for sharing 🙂

February 13, 2020 at 6:12 pm

These are all great tips! I like taking overnight flights and hitting the ground running first thing in the morning. If I walk around a city all day, then I am exhausted and my body is already on that time zone. I think part of it is excitement and partly adrenaline. Whatever, it works. Too bad that it doesn’t work coming back! It takes several weeks to get back to the correct time zone here. UGH!!!!!! If I could figure that one out, I would be rocking this.

    February 14, 2020 at 2:19 am

    I feel the same way Nina! It’s always easy to jump into the new time zone, I think I am more diligent about following my own tips when I am on my trip. It’s always so much harder when you are home! Thanks for your comments 🙂

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