Jetlag: how to overcome it ASAP

by - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jetlag: how to overcome it ASAP. My tips for this common issue when traveling.


I normally don't post travel-related posts on Tuesday, however, as I am currently dealing with today's subject, overcome jetlag, so I figured it would be appropriate to share it as I "do it".
As you may have noticed, in case you follow on Instagram and/or on Facebook, I was in San Francisco (CA, USA) last week and it was a blast!!

There is a time difference of -9h between San Francisco and the Netherlands, where I live, so jetlag was something to be expected. However, I must say, that I did not suffer from it; not when arrived in San Francisco, nor here at home.

I am by no means an expert on overcoming jetlag, since I hardly fly so far away or to places with such large time difference, however, the few times I did, I applied the same techniques (so to speak) and I guess they worked. So, I'll share with you what I did, and just keep in mind, these were things that worked for me (and my body). Every person is different which could mean that these tips may not work for you. Just keep that in mind.

1. Select your flying times wisely

When flying West, I find afternoon flights the best; this way, by the time you land, passed Customs and arrive at your hotel, is most likely dinner time. After dinner, you only need to stay up for a couple of hours and then have a good night sleep.

When flying East, I flew during the night (in SF time zone) and landed back in the Netherlands late afternoon.
Once again, by the time I was home, it was dinner time and then it was "just" a short wait until bedtime.

2. Avoid alcoholic drinks and/or with caffeine

Most people think that having a few "fresh ones" before flying is a good thing, it actually isn't.
Even though it may make you feel more relaxed, and therefore, you think you'll sleep better, it actually doesn't work that way.
While your body is busy processing the alcohol in your drinks, you won't be having a good rest.

And for coffee (or teas with high caffeine levels) it's quite obvious, I guess...

3. Drink tons of water

I drank over 2L of water per flight (approx. 11h each), and staying hydrated is very important. Trust me, you won't regret this one.

4. Sleep

Unless you are fortunate enough to be flying Business/First and have the chance to lay down, most likely, you'll be seating for a while; combining that with sleep is quite hard to do. At least, for me it was.
During my first trip to NYC, I had a really hard time with this, but I learned my lesson!
So this time around, I made sure to have good sleeping pills and take them after the warm meal.
Without them, I wouldn't have been able to sleep while seated, I'm sure.

Always ask your doctor about sleeping pills!

5. Adjust your internal clock to your destination

This is the toughest one to do, I can tell from experience.
However, it's possibly the most important; try to stay active if it isn't bedtime at the destination is crucial. Finding stuff to do, no matter what it is, is the key.
If you're busy with stuff you are most likely to stay (or even feel) awake.
That's exactly what I am doing right now: writing posts so I don't fall asleep too early. hihihi


For me, these 5 tips were (and are!) essential to overcome jetlag ASAP.
But I won't' lie to you: there were nights that I just woke up at 3AM and felt right awake. 
Here the trick is: stay AWAY from phone or any source of distraction.

I found that Headspace can help me to fall asleep even if I don't feel like, and in the worst case scenario, just take one of those sleeping pills (but wisely!!!). This is what I had to do last night, after being wide awake for 2 hours (between 2 and 4AM).

While in San Francisco, I don't think I had jetlag, as I could follow SF's time and adjust pretty quickly.
Now that I am back home, I feel the same way, despite last night.

So, like I said at the beginning of this post: these were the things that worked for me. 
Each person is different, but besides the sleeping pills, you can always try the other 4 tips.
For me, they work. 

I hope you liked this post and that it can be useful in your future travels.
If you have your own tips about to overcome jetlag, then please feel free to share them in the comments section. 

See you soon!

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Jetlag: how to overcome it ASAP. My tips for this common issue when traveling.

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  1. These are such good tips! I have so many regrets that I didn't take any sleeping pills when I was on my way to and from America early on this year, particularly on the way home I had the absolute worst and most uncomfortable time trying to sleep on my 14 hour flight, it was honestly awful! Keeping hydrated as well is such a good tip, although its so hard to remember to keep constantly drinking

    1. I totally understand and feel your pain. Sleeping on a long flight is by far the best way to adjust, I believe. At least it worked for me.
      Hopefully these tips will help you next time you have a long flight. ;)