Ask a Flight Attendant: 5 Expert Ways to Beat Jet Lag

June 27, 2016
Written by: Yasha Wallin

We’ve all been there: bleary eyed half awake days following an extended or overnight trip. It can feel like a feat keeping eyelids open when you get to your destination—but it doesn’t have to. We turned to Lily Meyer, a seasoned flight attendant who shared her pro-tips on how to conquer jet lag once and for all.

“I could write a book on this. Jet lag is hard,” she tells us. “To stay awake and alert when I work, I’m pretty strict on myself. You can’t beat jet lag, but you can help your body not suffer the effects so badly. Here’s my layover regimen:”

  1. Hydration: Water and electrolytes! Good hydration means fewer headaches, body aches, and chances of getting sick.
  2. Remember to eat: Jet lag messes with digestion, so keep meals small and frequent.
  3. No caffeine: This is a hard rule when I’m traveling, but I do keep it. Stimulants on top of jet lag may help for an hour, but they delay sleep and erode the quality of sleep later on, prolonging tiredness and the want for more caffeine.
  4. Keep alcohol to a minimum: First of all, it dehydrates. Also, it may seem like a good sleep aid, but it interferes with the body’s ability to fall into and stay in deep sleep, leaving you feeling less rested when you wake up.
  5. Stay active, exercise: I walk or exercise on every layover…even if only a little bit. It helps me sleep at night.

“My real secret is that I love to take long naps when I get home from working. Anyone who knows air crew knows that we are marathon sleepers when we get the chance!”