How To Avoid A Jet Lag

There is nothing more unpleasant than starting your holiday tired due to jet lag. No energy, insomnia and grumpy. Fortunately, you can prevent this! Scientists have already done a lot of research on jet lags, but the fact remains that there is no real cure for it yet. Luckily, there are some great tips on beating a jet lag.

Discover these 10 hacks below!



Jetlag is a condition that occurs when an individual’s internal clock is out of sync with the local time in their destination. This can cause sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritability, and poor concentration.

10 Best Tips On Beating A Jet Lag

10 best tips on beating a jet lag
Beautiful things can be seen everywhere in Amsterdam!

Our body is one of the most wonderful and ingenious inventions on the planet; it can heal wounds, grow bones together, make a heart beat, and it has millions of other functions. However, bridging time differences is a different story.

As soon as we get on the plane and get off on the other side of the ocean ten hours later, the body is upset. Instead of the twilight that the brain expects, the sun is high in the sky and there’s a long day ahead.

Your body refuses to systematically adapt to the different time zones. Still, there are quite a few tips on beating a jet lag.

1 | Take it easy the first few days

Avoid jet lag to Europe
Amsterdam Red Light District during day time.

Our biological clock gets disrupted when we make a time jump of more than four hours. Your biological clock, which regulates your sleep-wake rhythm and is influenced by sunlight, is set at about twenty-four hours.

If you pass a number of time zones in a short time, that clock will not be able to adjust quickly. It will take approximately one day an hour to recover this balance: keep this in mind when planning your trip. It’s especially important to take it easy for the first few days.

2 | Keep a good physical condition

Beat jet lag to Europe

This is one of the most underrated tips on beating a jet lag. Most people don’t know this: Make sure you’re in good physical condition. Research shows that people who exercise regularly suffer less from jet lag.

Try to exercise for at least half an hour every day before leaving and keep moving while traveling. This doesn’t have to take too much effort. For example, bring your running shoes or go swimming for twenty minutes every day.

If you’ve slept little, are tired or stressed before the flight, you will be much more affected by the jet lag anyway.

3 | Take melatonin pills on very long flights

Tips on beating a jet lag.
Amsterdam’s canal-ring during autumn.

If you travel a lot, you can ask your doctor for melatonin pills. These pills are also available at any drugstore, only these pills are much less strong. Start taking this medicine a few days before departure for a really good effect.

If you travel to America, you can buy these tablets there at the drugstore without a prescription. Not everyone is in favour of this, because there are people who think that you shouldn’t mess with your hormone balance through medication.

We only use them for real long distance travel such as on a trip to Australia, New Zealand or Alaska.

5 | Don’t eat too much during the flight

Amsterdam flight tips
Some of the 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam.

This is one of the better tips on beating a jet lag: Watch your diet. Do not eat too much during your travels. The meal you will be served on board the plane is basically enough.

If necessary, bring your own salad for on the road if you do not feel like an airplane meal, although the composition and preparation of these meals often takes into account the effect on the passengers.

Once you’ve arrived, remember the following rules: Carbohydrate-rich foods make you drowsy faster (including pasta and potatoes), while protein-rich foods (fish, lean meats, and legumes) generally make you feel ‘awake’.

6 | Flying from east to west is easier

Amsterdam canal ring
A canal cruise is a must-do in Amsterdam.

It’s easier to fly from east to west (with the sun) than the other way around. This has to do with the fact that you have to ‘extend’ your rhythm in a westerly direction (the day lasts longer), and the body has less trouble with this than shortening the rhythm.

6 | Anti jetlag diet

Flight tips and tricks
A peaceful canal in the city centre.

There is an anti-jet lag diet that would also relieve the symptoms. In short, this means that you eat a lot of proteins in the days before departure in the morning and put a lot of carbohydrates on the menu in the evening.

More information and tips on beating a jet lag can be found in the Argonne Anti Jet Lag Diet. A study by the US military from 2002 found out that those on this diet who traveled westward were 7 times less likely to experience a jet lag. When travailing east the number was even more impressive: 16 times less likely to experience a jet lag.

7 | Stay hydrated

Europe flight tips
Amsterdam’s oldest canal.

Drink enough water before and during your trip. Research shows that some of the jet lag complaints are caused by dehydration.

Coffee and alcohol draw moisture from your body and can cause dehydration, so it is better not to drink coffee or alcohol during the flight.

8 | Set your watch at take off

Great tips on beating a jet lag.
Many Amsterdammers have their own (little) boat.

Put your watch to time of your destination once in the plane. Upon arrival, stick to this time and try not to give in to your sleep needs, otherwise your body will take even longer to get used to the new time. If you really need to sleep, do it briefly, so that you can also sleep in the evening.

9 | Wake up from the sunlight

Europe flight tips

Expose your biological clock to the strongest time giver there is: light! In any case, this works best for us. If you want to speed up your rhythm because you’re traveling east, expose yourself to a lot of light in the morning.

This will wake you up earlier in the morning and make you fall asleep faster in the evening. If you go west, make sure you have a lot of light in the evenings, which slows down your biorhythm.

If necessary, this can be bright artificial light, which also has an effect on your biological clock. It takes a little effort, but start with this when you get home, because it really helps!

10 | Bring an eye mask & ear plugs

Amsterdam market food

The last of the 10 tips on beating a jet lag; don’t forget to bring an eye mask and earplugs when you travel. That way you sleep a lot better on the plane, so you arrive more rested.


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Do you have any good hacks in addition to these 10 tips on beating a jet lag? Drop them in the comment section below.

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