The Healthy Traveler: How to beat Jetlag

Posted on: July 29th, 2011 by paul

Jet lag can take its toll on your vacation. When travelling between time zones, try these helpful tips to minimize the affect jet lag can have on your body.

Take your vitamins

When your body is not accustomed to long trips or air travel, taking vitamins and drinking lots of fluids will help you maintain your energy levels. Taking a multi-vitamin, echinacea, and/or vitamin C can help boost your body’s natural defenses against sicknesses that are associated with fatigue from travel.

Stay hydrated

Avoid sodas and energy drinks when travelling on an airplane. Stay hydrated with water and vitamin rich fluids like tomato juice. The increase in cabin air pressure at high altitudes can dehydrate your body. Drinking lots of fluids will help your body get back to its regular rhythm much faster.

Take short naps

Napping on the plane and upon arrival to your destination will get your body adapted to local time. Try taking a short nap (between 30 and 45 minutes) to avoid that drowsy ‘just woke up’ feeling. Take one in the morning and if needed another one in the afternoon. Avoid long naps (2 hours or more) because it will take you deep into your sleep cycle and make it harder to adapt to local time.

Wear loose fitting clothing on planes

Wearing loose fitting socks and pants prevents restriction of blood flow. Tight socks can cause swelling around the ankles and can be a nuisance.


Breathing deeply helps put your mind at ease. Try this exercise before liftoff: Close your eyes, breathe deeply – picture the air filling your stomach, then chest, then up to the top of your head – breathe out and picture yourself at your destination, enjoying the beach, sightseeing, etc. The combination of breathing and visualization relaxes the body and mind.

Stretch and move

Keep your blood flowing while you are on the plane. On long flights use these tips: take walks between movies, lightly stretch by reaching up with your arms in the air, then reach down to touch your toes, then with your arms at your side rotate your torso in each direction. On short flights, you can breathe deeply and stretch your arms in the air while seated.

Set your watch

If you haven’t thrown away your wristwatch in exchange for that Blackberry or iPhone, you can adjust it to the local time at your destination before you get on your flight. This will allow you to begin getting mentally adjusted to the new time.

Adaptation time=Extra time to read

Even if you prepare well, overseas travel is bound to bring the feeling of jetlag sooner or later. Leave time in your schedule for extra time to sleep. You may feel fine for a 2 or 3 days before your body’s internal clock catches up to local time. Be aware that this is normal and prepare yourself with plenty of reading material to keep you occupied during a sleepless night.  Try reading about the history of local area and try to pick up a few words of the native language.

Although avoiding jetleg can be difficult, these techniques will help minimize its effect on your trip. If you have a flight overseas be prepared to allow your body plenty of time to adapt. Using these tips will allow you to spend less time recovering and more time enjoying your vacation.


Dave Urquhart is the travel blog editor for Canada’s source for last minute vacations from Hamilton, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and all major Canadian airports.

Comments are closed.