Health & Wellness > Stress Management > 7 Remedies for Jet Lag

7 Remedies for Jet Lag

Don’t let jet lag drag you down for days – check out these jet lag remedies. They’re natural cures to help you adjust to traveling through different time zones, so no more jet lag for you as a traveler.

Remember that sometimes there’s just no remedy for jet lag. In fact, I’m in my hotel room in Vienna, Austria as I write this – I’ve been awake since 2:30 a.m., and since it’s now 6 a.m., I don’t expect to sleep more tonight. But at least I have my laptop computer and wireless internet access, and my job makes it easy to work anywhere.

If you’d rather sleep than work, you probably know that one way to sleep through jet lag is with a sleeping aid. Click on the Tylenol P.M. package for more info, and read on for several natural ways to cure jet lag – whether you’re going on an all-inclusive resort vacation in Costa Rica or a safari in Africa.

“No Jet Lag” Remedies

Consider sleep aids to stop jet lag. My husband took a generic sleep aid on our first night in Vienna, and slept through the night without any side effects the next day. I was up at 2:30 a.m. that night too, listening to him snore! (If your partner snores, read 6 Ways to Stop Snoring – From Changing Sleep Positions to Acupuncture).

I didn’t want to take a sleeping pill. The next night I broke down and took one…and slept through the night, but was sick the whole next day. I think it was the aftereffects of the sleeping pill: nausea, grogginess, headache, and general gross feelings. I still think a sleep aid is a good jet lag remedy, but different brands affect people differently. I’d try Tylenol instead of a generic sleep aid on my next trip.

Remember that melatonin can help cure jet lag. A melatonin sleep aid is similar to a sleeping pill, but it’s a more natural source of sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces naturally; it causes drowsiness and a drop in body temperature. Some sleeping pills – like Tylenol – may have melatonin. I think one of the best jet lag remedies is to find a sleeping pill that contains natural substances, such as melatonin.

Are you traveling halfway ’round the world, such as from South Africa to Canada? Read Africa Travel Tips – Living or Volunteering in Kenya.

Find ways to distract yourself at night. When I can’t sleep – such as right now, in Vienna – the last thing I want to do is lie in bed and listen to my husband snore! One of the best jet lag remedies is to distract yourself from your sleeplessness: read a novel, write in your journal, plan your itinerary, check your email if you have a laptop and wireless connection, watch TV, write a letter or postcard to people back home. These tips are also great ways to avoid feeling homesick while traveling – because when you’re tired and can’t sleep in the middle of the night, you’re most vulnerable to feeling homesick!

Don’t nap for longer than 20 minutes in the day. This has been my colossal mistake on this trip: I’ve been sleeping for over an hour in the afternoons. Napping can be beneficial, but not if it turns into a deep REM sleep!

Do you fall asleep while getting massaged – or do you tense up? Read How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage.

Set a regular sleep and wake schedule right away. This is a well-known jet lag remedy because it works! The sooner you set your sleep and wake schedule, the quicker your body will adjust to the new time zone. This is probably the most natural way to stop jet lag.

You might also want to consider light therapy if you’re prone to mild bouts of depression due to fatigue or sleeplessness.

Experiment with ear plugs to cure jet lag. Another effective jet lag remedy is to stick ear plugs in your ears, because when you do fall asleep, you may be sleeping lighter and thus easily woken up by unfamiliar hotel noises (or familiar snoring noises!). My husband uses ear plugs when he travels, and that may be why he’s been sleeping though the night since we left home. I’m almost ready to try them myself, but can’t yet stomach the idea of sticking squishy little things into my ears. If you can, click on the packet of ear plugs for more info!

Remember that sometimes there’s just no cure for jet lag. The more I travel, the more I think that I just have to suffer through my feelings of jet lag without finding a remedy! But not everybody is like me – my husband, for instance, hasn’t had a problem sleeping since we arrived in Vienna three nights ago. If you’re jet lagged, you might have to just accept that there may be no way to stop feeling so tired…until your body naturally adjusts to the new time zone.

For more travel tips, read 55 Practical Travel Tips for Women — especially if you’re a woman traveling alone.

If you have any questions or thoughts on these natural remedies for jet lag, please comment below…

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3 thoughts on “7 Remedies for Jet Lag”

  1. I’m amending my comment that Vienna isn’t as “good” as Salzburg: the two cities just have different things to offer, and I just like what Salzburg offers more than what Vienna offers 🙂

  2. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks, Gini! Vienna wasn’t nearly as good as Salzburg…what an amazing place. It’s like Disneyland for adults! So many fun, interesting, exciting things to see and do.

    And now that I’m over my jet lag, I’m enjoying my days much more. Thanksf or the natural sleep remedy tips…I didn’t know those things could help. I’ll keep my eye out for a natural products store — I know they have them here, and that I could get lavender or chamomile.

  3. Hi Laurie – I hope you are having a fantastic time in Vienna despite the jet lag and lack of sleep. Sleep is an issue for me from time to time regardless of travel. I’m too sensitive to drugs/medication to use an over the counter or prescriptive sleep aid, but I have found melatonin helpful so you may want to try it. I only need half a tablet – I have more vivid dreams but don’t feel groggy the next day.

    Another thing I use is a Bach flower remedy similar to rescue remedy called, sleep remedy. And something else to try is essential oils of lavendar and/or chamomile. If I have a massage with lavender oil (from hubby or just myself) it not only relaxes me, but the lavender (or chamomile) helps to relax me even further so I can go to sleep – even just massaging into my feet (it absorbs easily into the body that way) is useful.

    Looking forward to hearing about your trip,