How to Deal with Jet Lag

6 tips for overcoming “The Laggies”(and a little word play, too)

“The Laggies” is a term invented by my good friend Laurie and I. When I spoke to Laurie about this post and thanked her for coining the term she immediately protested that it was I who had invented it. Apparently we both have been pinning the credit on each other without knowing the true inventor. So naturally, as best friends, we agreed to evenly split the glory and riches that are sure to follow the term’s invention.

We are pretty well-qualified travel-word inventors, as we both have lived as expats for several years, made countless international flights, and crossed the Atlantic and Pacific more times than I care to recall. All this goes to say that the laggies have been a very frequent and unwelcome guest in our lives, and today I am here to share the secrets we have discovered in our fight against them.

How to Deal with Jet Lag

The laggies, as I’m sure you have guessed by now, refers to that out of body, zombie-esk feeling one gets during the day and the accompanying insomnia during the night which immediately follows a trek across multiple time zones. Besides the two aforementioned major symptoms, one may also experience additional minor symptoms when afflicted with the laggies. A few that I often experience are itchy skin, an insatiable thirst for cold water, and sadly, night sweats. Eww.

Clearly, the laggies are not a pleasant experience and are, for the most part, inescapable. But their length may be shortened if the traveler stays committed to beating them. In case any of you are facing the daunting reality that the laggies will be a part of your life in the near future, here are a few tips for reducing the stranglehold that the laggies will attempt on you.

1. Drink an impossibly large amount of water on your flight and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Who cares if you have to bother the person with the aisle seat every hour so you can visit the restroom? That’s part of the responsibility that comes with possessing the luxurious aisle seat. Plus, it gives you another chance to get the blood in your legs moving.

2. Set your watch to the time at your destination and begin trying to sleep and wake accordingly on your flight.

3. When you arrive at your destination do your best not to nap and to go to sleep when the rest of your new time zone does.

4. Combat insomnia with a dose of melatonin at bedtime. It will help you sleep and won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day.

5. If possible, spend a little time in the sun and fresh air. I have found the combination to be a wakeup call to my body that it’s not sleepy time.

6. Upon your arrival, drink even more water. Constantly.

Hopefully by following these tips you can show the laggies who’s boss and enjoy your travels. Keep exploring!

*Editor’s note: Of course, the laggies are not a real medical condition and we aren’t doctors, but we think it’s healthy to laugh every so often about those less-than-lovely parts of travel. 

**Photo by and property of feline_dacat, used with permission

How to Deal with Jet Lag

Gretchen Pharis

How to Deal with Jet Lag

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How to Deal with Jet Lag

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Comments

  1. says

    The best cure I know for “the laggies” is the homeopathic product called No Jet Lag. I always take it when I’m crossing through lots of time zones, and instead of arriving at the opposite side of the globe feeling totally trashed, I’ll just be mildly tired. I adjust to the new time more quickly, too. It’s one of the few products I never travel long distances without. I also practice many of the useful tips in this article, especially drinking lots of water; showering helps rehydrate you, too. We can beat, or at least subdue, the laggies!

    Karen McCann
    enjoylivingabroad.com

  2. says

    On shorter flights of 7-9 hours say to Europe, eat before the fight, take a prescription ambien and go to sleep and wake up for breakfast. I slept 6 hours on my fight from Chicago to Frankfurt in August. Then take one more pill for the next two nights to help set your clock. Also stay hydrated.On the way back from Europe I just stay up until I get home and then stay up as long as I can taking an ambien for the next 2-3 nights so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night.

    To Asia with longer fights of 12+ hours, you can eat a meal and then take a pill and sleep 6-8 hours. On the way back I take an ambien and sleep 6-8 hours before arriving back in the US.

    I have no reaction to Ambien and feel rested when I get there. Beats having to time meals and sleep for the new time zone.

    Bob Glaze
    Globalphile Curator

  3. says

    Great tips. I always make an effort to land in the morning or mid-day, so I can spend what’s left of the day exploring and go to sleep at night. For some reason it works for me even if though I can’t sleep much on planes. If you’re unsure of what works for you, you can leave the first couple of few days more loose schedule-wise, especially if you’re not yet sure about what your body’s reaction will be.

  4. says

    These are EXCELLENT ideas!! I’ve used them myself and they work a treat. :-) Planning something to DO as soon as I arrive is always helpful. It engages my mind and helps me temporarily forget how utterly exhausted I am. :-)