Natural Remedies for Jet Lag:10 Ways to Minimize the Effects

Natural Remedies for Jet Lag

Jet lag is a common condition that occurs when traveling across multiple time zones. It results from the body’s internal clock being out of sync with the destination’s time zone, causing symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and digestive issues.

While it usually resolves within a few days, jet lag can really dampen the start of a trip. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to minimize the effects of jet lag without relying on sleep medications.

In this blog post, we will explore 10 natural remedies that can help you adjust to the new time zone more quickly.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag occurs when travelers rapidly cross multiple time zones during air travel. It is a physiological condition caused by disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms, which are the internal clocks that regulate sleep-wake cycles and other biological processes over a 24-hour period.

When you travel across several time zones in a short time, your circadian rhythms become desynchronized. This mismatch between your internal clock and the new external time-zone results in symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and gastrointestinal issues. Your body’s natural hormonal cycles, appetite, digestion and other functions are thrown off by the sudden time zone change.

Jet lag effects are worse when traveling east since you lose several hours moving in that direction. Traveling west is not as disruptive since it’s like extending the day. Symptoms may last a few days until your circadian rhythms reset through exposure to daylight, activity, and the new time zone.

Symptoms of jet lag

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Insomnia at night
  • Cognitive impairments like lack of focus, foggy thinking
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Indigestion, constipation, loss of appetite
  • Irritability, mood changes, disorientation
  • Lack of energy and motivation

10 Natural Ways to Minimize for Jet Lag

1. Gradually shift your sleep schedule

Starting a few days before your trip, begin going to bed and waking up earlier or later incrementally each day to match the time zone of your destination. Shift your schedule by 15-30 minutes daily to gradually move your circadian rhythms.

This gradual resetting of your internal body clock over several days helps minimize the circadian mismatch you’ll experience when you arrive somewhere with a large time zone difference. It eases the transition and reduces jet lag.

2. Avoid large meals and alcohol before and during the flight

Consuming heavy, rich meals and lots of alcohol right before or during your flight can worsen jet lag. Heavy foods are harder to digest and may exacerbate symptoms like indigestion, nausea, and bloating when your body is already stressed.

Alcohol is a nervous system depressant that can leave you more fatigued and exacerbate dehydration. Avoid large portions, greasy foods, spicy meals, and excessive alcohol intake while traveling across time zones. Stick to lighter snacks and lots of water.

3. Stay hydrated

Dehydration from flying at high altitudes can worsen jet lag symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and general malaise. Be diligent about drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your flight to minimize dehydration.

Fruit/vegetable juices are also great for hydration since they provide fluids along with nutrients. Avoid diuretics like coffee and alcohol as well which can increase dehydration.

4. Exposure to daylight

Sunlight exposure helps reset your circadian rhythms and suppresses melatonin production which induces sleep. Seeking out natural light as soon as possible when you reach your destination reinforces the circadian resetting you want. Get outdoor sunlight exposure during the daytime and avoid staying in dark hotel rooms until bedtime.

Natural Remedies for Jet Lag sleep fit

5. Exercise

Light exercise such as walking, jogging, cycling, or stretching when you arrive at your destination helps provide a physical boost to counter fatigue. It also reinforces that it’s daytime for your body. However, avoid overexerting yourself when already drained from travel. Gentle exercise for short time periods is best.

6. Melatonin supplements

Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles and can help induce sleep when it’s bedtime in your new time zone. Take a melatonin supplement when it’s nighttime based on the local time, not your home time zone. Properly timed melatonin facilitates sleep schedule adjustment.

7. Ginger

Ginger has anti-nausea effects and can provide relief if you feel queasy from jet lag without the grogginess of other medications. Drink ginger tea or chew raw ginger to ease your stomach. Ginger is a go-to natural remedy for motion sickness as well.

8. Avoid heavy sleeping pills

While sleeping pills can help you fall asleep, they can leave you feeling hungover the next day which exacerbates jet lag fatigue and brain fog. They don’t facilitate proper circadian resetting either. Avoid using heavy-duty sleep medications as they won’t promote schedule adjustment.

Avoid heavy sleeping pills sleepfit

9. Stay awake during daylight hours

It’s critical you fight the urge to nap until nighttime in the new time zone. Napping will reinforce your body’s incorrect circadian rhythms. Power through daytime fatigue and continue exposing yourself to daylight and activity which will reinforce the circadian resetting.

10. Relaxation techniques

Stress-reduction methods like meditation, deep breathing, massage, yoga, visualization, and other relaxation techniques can facilitate your body’s easing into the new time zone. They help lower cortisol and quiet your mind before bedtime, promoting quality sleep at the proper schedule.

Other natural remedies

In addition to daylight exposure, melatonin, and gradually shifting sleep schedules, other natural remedies can minimize jet lag:

  • Aromatherapy – Essential oils like lavender and chamomile used in a diffuser or applied topically can induce relaxation. This helps sleep and reset circadian rhythms.
  • Herbal teas – Teas containing chamomile, valerian root, ginger, lemon balm, and other herbs have a calming effect on the body and promote sleep.
  • Massage – Getting a massage helps lower cortisol levels, easing the body’s stress response. Massage promotes relaxation which aids sleep-wake cycle synchronization. Target areas like the back, neck, and shoulders.


Though jet lag is unavoidable, its symptoms can be minimized with these natural remedies that help reset your internal clock. Being well hydrated, avoiding sleep medications, getting sunlight exposure, taking melatonin, and readjusting your sleep schedule gradually are effective ways to minimize jet lag.

With these tips, you can start your next trip feeling refreshed and ready to explore the new time zone. Learn here more about sleep health tips and techniques.


What causes jet lag?

Jet lag is caused by traveling rapidly across multiple time zones, which disrupts your body’s internal circadian rhythms. This mismatch between your biological clock and the new time zone results in jet lag symptoms.

How long does jet lag last?

For most people, jet lag symptoms last 2-4 days as the body adjusts to the new time zone. Fatigue and insomnia may persist for up to a week. Traveling east tends to cause worse jet lag that lasts longer.

What is the best way to prevent jet lag?

Gradually shifting your sleep schedule in the days before travel helps minimize jet lag. Avoiding heavy meals and alcohol, staying hydrated, and exposure to daylight also help prevent severe jet lag.

Can melatonin help with jet lag?

Yes, taking melatonin supplements at local nighttime in your destination can help reset your natural sleep-wake cycle and promote sleep at the right schedule.

When should you take melatonin for jet lag?

Take melatonin at the new bedtime based on the local time zone, not based on the time back home. This reinforces adjustment to the new time.

Are sleeping pills good for jet lag?

Heavy sleeping pills are not recommended as they can leave you groggy. They also don’t properly shift circadian rhythms. Melatonin is safer and more effective.

What vitamins are good for jet lag?

B vitamins support adrenal function for energy. Magnesium promotes relaxation and sleep. Antioxidants like vitamin C combat the stress of travel. Stay hydrated with electrolytes.

What foods help with jet lag?

Magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, avocados, and bananas help minimize jet lag symptoms. Stay hydrated with water and juices.

Can exercise help with jet lag?

Light exercise like walking or stretching when you arrive at your destination helps boost energy levels and reinforce circadian resetting.

What essential oils are good for jet lag?

Lavender, chamomile, bergamot and clary sage essential oils help relieve stress, promote relaxation and sleep when using a diffuser or topically.