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Our Jet Lag Strategy for Long Haul Flights

Do you have a "go to" strategy for jet lag? If you do, please share in the comments section at the end.

We have a method that seems to work for our long-haul flights (8+ hours); but we readily acknowledge that believing in the plan could be a big part of its success. Hello, placebo effect. 

Combat the Jet Lag Athletic-Minded Traveler Style

1. 30 minutes before desired sleep time (en route or at destination): take 6-12mg melatonin. Any brand likely works. We favor Natrol's Strawberry Flavored Fast Dissolve Tablets. We take three of the 3mg tablets. To learn more about melatonin and how it can work for you to combat jet lag, this article helps.

2. Try and time sleep with destination time. Watch that clock. It matters. 

3. If your plan includes sleeping on the plane, pack a blindfold, neck support, and noise canceling device. For the neck support, we use the trtl travel & airplane pillow. While the $65 cost gave us pause, we liked the positive reviews, ease of packing and overall concept. While not a huge game changer, we recommend it.  For our eyes, this blindfold has been a longtime winner, on and off the plane, and it gets high ratings for its comfort (ignore the bra-like appearance). We use standard over the ear headphones for noise and to watch movies! 

4. Consider taking a homeopathic remedy like No Jet Lag or Boiron's Jet Lag Relief. These supplements can help with bloating, muscle aches, and physical stiffness. We like both of these brands and have used No Jet Lag on many occasions. It's hard to quantify any specific result, but we do know that for those that took it versus those that didn't, the former felt better at destination and in the days after.

In terms of choosing between Boiron or Jet Lag's remedy, the main difference appears to be:

Boiron's packaging suggests taking it the day prior to travel, just before travel and then hourly until symptoms are relieved. The three main ingredients are Oculus Indices for sleep pattern disturbance, Arnica Montana for stiffness and muscle pains, and Nux Vomica for drowsiness.

No Jet Lag, in our opinion, is a simpler regimen to follow: chew one tablet each time your plane takes off and each time it lands, and one every two hours while flying.  No Jet Lag has five main ingredients:  Arnica Montana 30C (Leopard's Bane), Bellis Perennis 30C (Daisy), Chamomilla 30C (Wild Chamomile), Ipecacuanha 30C (Ipecac), Lycopodium 30C (Clubmoss). It's also suggested to take separate from food or drink, but not necessary.

5. MOVE. If sleep isn't part of the plan while flying, make a point to move your body every hour. Our favorite method is to stand up and do a 1-2 minute "half moon" series. Any sort of stretching will encourage blood flow and lessen jet lag effects. If you hydrate well, you'll need to use the bathroom anyway -- perfect time to get up and stretch. 

Last, commit to the plan. If you put a little effort into any sort of strategy, your body and brain will thank you. We recently flew from Chicago to Paris. Our flight left around dinner time and we slept 5 to 6 of the 8 hour flight. We arrived in Paris around 9a/10a and the goal was to stay awake until at least 7p. Those 5-6 hours of sleep en route made it a possibility. 

Happy Travels!


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