Can dogs get jet lag?

Fight jet lag: these seven tips will make it work

Especially when traveling long-distance, many feel like they are worn out on the first few days: they are bothered by jetlag. Tips on how to prevent it - or at least get it under control quickly.

Many vacationers complain of jet lag - especially when traveling long-distance. Because then the aircraft often flies over several time zones, at least when it comes to North and South America or Asia and Australia. The consequences are tiredness and exhaustion - not a particularly good start to your vacation.

Quick help: Brief overview of jet lag

  • Tips against jet lag: Adjust to the new rhythm a few days before departure, change the clock on the plane, spend a lot of time in daylight, adapt immediately to the local daily rhythm at the destination
  • Symptoms:Fatigue, trouble sleeping, digestive problems, loss of appetite, mood swings
  • Causes: If there is a time difference of more than two hours, the internal clock can get out of balance. Then there is a risk of jet lag.

What is jet lag?

When traveling to other time zones, our internal clock can get out of balance. The disturbances in the waking and sleeping rhythm are known as jet lag. Problems usually make a time difference of more than two hours. Only gradually does the body get used to the new times and the associated changes in getting up and going to bed after a long-haul flight.

How long does jet lag last?

Long-haul flight: On long-haul flights, passengers often lose their rhythm - they sometimes suffer from jet lag for several days. (Source: Fredrik von Erichsen / dpa)

"Jet" means airplane, "lag" means time difference. Jet lag can last for several days. The severity of the symptoms depends on the one hand on the duration of the flight and thus the number of time zones crossed, on the other hand the direction of flight is decisive. In general, you can plan one day of adjustment time per hour of time difference.

Passengers find flights to the east in particular uncomfortable because they shorten the regular daily rhythm. Most people have an internal day-night rhythm that is actually a little longer than 24 hours. Therefore, it is easier to extend the day if you fly west. Because getting up early is more difficult for most than going to bed later.

Jet lag: symptoms

Man with jet lag: If the natural sleep-wake cycle is interrupted, it affects various body functions. (Source: bernardbodo / Getty Images)

Jet lag can manifest itself through the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • sleep disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty concentrating

Which symptoms occur and how severe they are is different for everyone.

Tips against jet lag

Woman on a plane: You should sleep as much as possible on flights to the east. (Source: arianarama / Getty Images)

Although jetlag cannot be completely prevented in most cases, you can use a few tricks to ensure that your body is better prepared for the change.

1. Adjust step by step

If you have the opportunity, you can get used to the new rhythm a few days in advance: If you fly east, it is best to go to bed a little earlier each day. If you travel to the west, you will sleep accordingly later.

2. Skip a night

With a time difference of ten, eleven or twelve hours, sleep deprivation sometimes makes sense - until it is really night at the destination. One or two naps of no more than 20 minutes and a coffee beforehand is the best way to get through the day. Daylight is also helpful when staying awake. This will bring you into the local sleep-wake rhythm relatively quickly.

3. Proper nutrition on the flight

On flights to the east, try to get as much sleep as possible and eat foods high in carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta and bread. These make you tired and ensure that you fall asleep faster on site.

On the other hand, when flying west, you have to stay awake. Protein-rich meals consisting of fish, meat or dairy products are beneficial for this. Just before landing, you can have a cup of coffee or black tea. In general, however, you should only consume a little caffeine and drink plenty of water instead, as the cabin air is very dry.

4. Get used to the destination quickly

No matter where you are going: change your watch while you are on the plane and quickly adapt to the daily rhythm at your destination. In the first two days, however, you should try not to do any strenuous activity. Allow your body to adjust to the new time zone and climate. Restful nights and lots of sunlight during the day help.

5. Stay at your own pace for less than 48 hours

If you stay in the other time zone for less than 48 hours, you don't have to go to great lengths to adjust to the time there. When traveling on business, for example, it helps to take a nap, otherwise you can maintain your own biorhythm.

6. Be careful with sleeping pills

Whether medication can help with jet lag is controversial. You should only take sleeping pills in an emergency and discuss the exact medication with a doctor. You can test the intake at home over a weekend: In rare cases it can happen that you react the opposite way and that the remedies have a stimulating effect on you.

7. Back at home

When you arrive at home, spend as much time as possible outdoors during the day, move around a lot and recharge your batteries. This helps the body to adapt. It is also important to adjust the meal times immediately to the new rhythm. Fridge looting at night is taboo.

If you have to perform at full capacity right away, you can also make do with melatonin, a sleep-inducing drug. Because it takes about six days to get rid of the symptoms of jetlag.

Flying to Asia with children: sensible flight times

Long-haul flights can be very stressful for parents and children - but with the right flight times, fatigue and stress can be reduced. If you want to go on holiday in Asia, it is best to choose a night flight on the outward journey.


However, the time difference must always be taken into account here, in Thailand about plus six hours. Arriving early in the morning according to local time is unfavorable for children because the little ones are still in deep sleep. It is therefore better to arrive in the early afternoon. That means: The departure in Germany for a non-stop flight should not be until late in the evening. If you are still changing planes in Europe, it is best to leave home between 5 and 7 p.m. The same tactic is recommended for the return flight from Asia.

More on the topics

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  • Asia