If you’re a longtime reader of my newsletter (sign up here for free), then you may know that back in the day, my friends used to jokingly call me Johnny Jet Lag since I crisscrossed the globe so much.  My gallivanting slowed down immensely once I had kids (I just don’t like to leave them) and when the pandemic hit, I really stopped long-haul travel.

However, over my two decades of traveling nonstop and visiting over 70 countries, I learned a trick or two about dealing with jet lag.  I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone is different and the best way to combat jet lag really depends on the person dealing with it.

Heck, Taylor Swift was recently quoted as saying that jet lag is a state of mind and Dick Clark is known for saying jet lag is for amateurs. Easy to say when you’re flying on a private jet.

But first things first: What exactly is jet lag? According to the Mayo Clinic, “jet lag, also called jet lag disorder, is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across several time zones. Your body has its own internal clock, called circadian rhythms. They signal to your body when to stay awake and when to sleep.”

They Mayo Clinic goes on to say that “jet lag occurs because your body’s internal clock is synced to your original time zone. It hasn’t changed to the time zone of where you’ve traveled. The more time zones crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.”

Since everyone is different, what works for me might not work for you. Personally, I try to adjust to new time zones by going to bed either earlier or later (depending on where I’m going) a couple of days before I leave for a trip so I can acclimate to the time change even before I arrive.

I also try to eat meals, wake and sleep at the times I’ll be doing those things at my destination from the moment I step on the plane (it’s not always easy to do). Then when I land, if it’s early in the morning, I try to take a quick nap but not under the covers of a cozy blanket because that makes it way too hard to get up.

I then get as much sunlight as possible because the the sun really is jet lag’s kryptonite. For me, the trick is to stay up until at least 10pm local time. But over the years, I find that I sleep hard for four hours and then am up for three hours. Instead of staring at the ceiling, I get up and work to be productive and go back to sleep for a few hours.

This is why I like to get to my destination a day or two before I need to do something important like speak at a conference.

Pilot Spencer Marker wrote an article for us a few years back, answering the question ‘how do you overcome jet lag?’ You can read his answer here but the gist of what he says is this: “For me, it has always been “the best defense is a good offense” approach to minimizing jet lag. So I make sure I’m properly rested, keep my body on my home time zone (to the extent possible) and, if necessary, a bit of coffee always helps. For my passengers, I’d say to use the flight to get as much rest as possible. Sleep aids like melatonin always help me fall asleep on flights when I travel for pleasure.”

He goes on to say: “If I’m traveling for fun and intend to stay in a destination for a while, I always try to push myself to stay awake as long as possible after arrival, generally until the early evening. If I happen to wake up very early the next morning, I’ll generally go wander around again, finding a cup of coffee and taking in the early morning sights of my destination.”

There’s no doubt jet lag is a thing – especially if you’re flying coach. But in my opinion, the best way to conquer jet lag is to sleep on the plane. Here’s how to get quality sleep: 10 surefire tips for sleeping on a plane

The App That Promises to Eliminate Jet Lag
Uplift: A Jet Lag Solution That Takes “Less Than 5 Minutes”
The AYO: A Unique Way to Combat Jet Lag

Want more travel news, tips and deals? Sign up to Johnny Jet’s free newsletter and check out these popular posts: The Travel Gadget Flight Attendants Never Leave Home Without and 12 Ways to Save Money on Baggage Fees. Follow Johnny Jet on MSNFacebook, InstagramPinterest, and YouTube for all of my travel posts.

2 Comments On "How to conquer jet lag ... unless you're Taylor Swift"
  1. Barbara|

    Just thought I would add that you looked like John Saxon in that picture you added to the jet lag article

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Ha! I used to get that all the time. I didn’t even know who he was but I do see the resemblance.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *