Center for International and Intercultural Studies

Jet Lag

Tri-S painting projectWhat is jet lag?

It is the exhausted, run-down, disoriented feeling you may experience after a long airline flight, especially into a time zone very different from home. Between the stress of your new surroundings, the unusual situations of travel, and your own tiredness, it is normal to feel out-of-sorts. Here is what you can do about it!

Tips to feel your best:

  • Take good care of yourself before you leave.
    Eat and sleep well and move your body. Plan ahead to reduce the stress of travel day.
  • Think in your new time zone.
    As you board the plane, set your watch to the time at your destination.
  • Eat light and stay hydrated.
    The day of the flight, avoid sugar, non-prescription drugs, coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. Eat meals low in fat and high in carbohydrates.
  • Get comfortable.
    Wear loose-fitting clothes and shoes to aid circulation and comfort during the long flight. Take a sweater, bring a book or magazine, and try to get some sleep.
  • Move your body on the plane.
    Walk around the cabin periodically. To exercise in your seat, stretch your arms overhead, gently stretch your neck, exercise your hands, raise and lower your legs, and bend over and touch your ankles.
  • Get ready for the day.
    When the cabin lights come on, get up, go into the lavatory and quickly freshen up. Eat the light breakfast, and don’t think about what time it is back home. Treat it like the start of the day.
  • No naps.
    When you get to your destination, napping will only reinforce your old body clock time. Keep moving and get some sun to help your body adjust.
  • Get to bed at a reasonable time and set an alarm for the morning.
    This should help you wake rested and ready for your day.
  • Repeat on the return trip!