Countering Jet Lag

by | Oct 11, 2019

This is a timely hack for jet lag as I start my haj home from Capetown, South Africa tomorrow evening. I hope British Airways’ old 747-400 can get me comfortably to London the next morning. Then I’ve got a long haul leg to LAX. And 6 am fitness lessons the next day.

Here’s what your Koach knows and feels for counters to crossing time zones.

– Pacific flights are a bit different if crossing the International Date line.

So, here is my shortlist of longhaul lessons:

1. Be rested enough but not too much. [I find that even 5-6 hour flights westward are tougher for me than eastbound when I’m tired or leaving late.]

2. Wear compression socks and work your feet and ankles as much as possible.

– Consider best possible legroom seats, if in cattle car class, so that your lower joints can sorta stretch out as if you were in bed.

If you can afford “economy plus” for flights more than 4 hours; this long-legged Koach suggests that it may be worth the upgrade cost to honor your body.

– Loosen shoe laces, and monitor your feet for swelling. You want to be able to tie laces after a lengthy leg!

– if you have a foot bar in your seat back – use it. If you don’t, elevate your feet on a carry-on item.

3. Don’t be too warm under those flight blankets as cooler is better for sounder sleep.

4. Take advantage of earplugs and eyeshades if they help you. [I like ambient noise and have nil issue with cabin lighting. After all, I’m a Navy guy].

5. Melatonin? I say yes- following timing and dosage recommendations.

6. Sleeping pills? Not for me. Possibly for you. Just consider your activity after landing. You don’t want to be groggy for either business or leisure.

7. Alcohol? Some say none. For me, I suggest moderation.

8. Water? You betcha! Better to have to climb over your seat mate for loo visits than to become dehydrated. Drink before thirst!

9. Tease your biorhythm into the destination time zone a day at a time before you go wheels-up? In theory yes. In my practical world – it rarely happens.

10. Listen to you body and know what’s coming. This is not business as usual – at all.

Rules of thumb: plan on an hour a day recovery cycle per each time zone crossed.

Eastward flights are a bit more wacky for me. Possibly as those cross country legs often have business or next day pleasure for me to hop into.

You just can’t mortally beat Mother Nature and your circadian rhythm. Go with the flow.


I recently read an article about jet lag which stated, “follow the sun.”

Great- if you have flexibility to juggle flight times. If not – do your best with items 1-10.

Plan, rest and relax to enjoy your 500 mph excursions.



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