Ways to Beat Jetlag with food

Do you have Bad Jetlag when travelling long distances?

There is some truth that sleeping certain amounts of hours before a flight or during flight will help fight Jet lag. Depending on how many time zones you will be crossing, you can calculate the amount of hours needed to sleep.

headache by psyberartist, on Flickr
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A big issue is that many of us cannot sleep well on a plane and it is sometimes difficult to sleep before a a flight because of anxiety/excitement before a trip.   But did you know some FOODS that you eat is a major factor in helping or worsen your jetlag? 

Here are some tips to help you get back in Syn-ch:

Rich Meals?

Avoid heavy rich meals and eat small portions during the first days of arrival.  Eating rich meals overloads our digestive system and put our bodies out of sync.

Match Meal Times with Travel Destination!

Try to match meal times of the travel destination before the flight. Again eating in small portion is key. Trying to eat at the right time on a plane can be difficult especially when flights attendant have a set schedule to bring out meals. Calmly decline or ask to bring the meal later if the time doesn’t match your mealtime’s final destination.  Understand they might not be flexible in bringing your meal later, so bring extra snacks.

Make sure to read our Tip Guide to SE Asia

Daytime Arrival in your destination

If it is daytime and you are feeling groggy and sleepy because of the time difference, your solution is PROTEIN!! Protein will give you energy and help with alertness for up to 5 hours.

Good choices(Avoid Fats)

  • Lean Roast
  • Tofu
  • Grilled Chicken or Fish
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Low-Fat Yogurt or Milk(skim)

Nightime Arrival in your desination

Are you feeling hyper and alert and its nighttime in your current destination?

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Well the best foods to help or prepare you for sleep are meals high in Carbohydrates and low protein. These types of food help increase a greater ratio in a chemical called tryptophan located in the brain. Tryptophan activates a messenger to the nervous system that promotes calmness.

Understand that fatty food will give a calming feeling to your body but you are also risking night-time heartburns which will make your sleep uncomfortable.

Here are some good food choices to prepare for sleep.

  • Starchy food like breads, cookies, crackers, muffins, pastas, tortillas
  • Sugary food like ice cream, jellies, honey
  • Fruits like Apples, Bananas, Melons, Peaches
  • Vegetables like carrots, corn, potatoes, rice, sweet potatoe

What about Caffeine like Coffea, Tea, Chocolate?

Yes they do help reduce jet lag, but consume moderately if during the day. And of course do not consumed before bedtime.  Generally you can drink 2 cups of coffee in the evening if you are travelling east, and 2 cups in the morning if you are travelling west.

Understand that everyone’s body is affected differently when dealing with caffeine.  Adjust accordingly on the type of caffeinated drink you are consuming and how much without overwhelming your system.

Upon Arrival

When you land do not rush to grab a caffeinated drink! Drink Water!

This leads to a final tip and that is staying hydrated. Always have water on hand. Dehydration is one of the worst culprits of increasing severe jet lag. Rule of thumb when travelling, drink a glass of water or pure juice every hour.


Arrive Alert and Stay Alert: Kathleen Mayes