The best ways to fight jet lag, according to flight attendants

Joe Raedle/GettyImagesFlight attendants are consistently fighting jet lag.
  • Jet lag is one of the major drawbacks of travelling.
  • To combat jet lag, some flight attendants recommend sleeping whenever you can, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time.
  • They also recommend drinking coffee and engaging with other people when trying to stay awake.

Chances are that if you’ve spent any time travelling, you’ve experienced insomnia, nausea, and general discomfort that’s associated with jet lag. To get the scoop on how to combat jet lag, INSIDER spoke to those who know it best.

Here’s how to actually combat jet lag, according to flight attendants.

Melanie Glessing, a flight attendant at American Airlines, told INSIDER she combats jet lag by sleeping whenever she can

Flight attendant Flickr/FaceMePLSIt’s important to rest when possible.

“I overcome jet lag by trying to sleep as much as I can whenever I can,” she said. “On international flights, the crews will typically go right to sleep as soon as we get to the hotel for about two hours and then force themselves to wake up and assimilate into society.”

The most common rookie mistake Glessing has seen? Trying to pull an all-nighter. “It’s usually a bad idea to try and ride the lightning and go straight out to sight-see because you’ve just worked all night,” she said. “You will crash and burn. Hard.”

Taylor Reynolds, a corporate flight attendant at Prime Jet, told INSIDER that she tries to wait until it’s nighttime to go to sleep on an international flight.

“If I’m going abroad, I don’t go to sleep right away and I wait until it is night time so that I sleep a full night and can wake up early in the morning,” she said. “I typically don’t get jet-lagged unless I am somewhere for more than four days.”

Glessing said she turns to coffee, talking with her crew, and constant movement to stay awake when she’s tired

Flight attendantsFlight/Paramount PicturesTalking to other crew members helps Glessing stay awake.

But trying to get as much sleep as possible will only get you so far in overcoming jet lag, so Glessing said she has to find other ways to power through.

“I typically push through jet lag by drinking coffee, talking with my crew or walking up and down the aisles to help me stay awake,” she said.

Reynolds added that she always tries to get some extra rest whenever possible. “If the passengers are sleeping and I am able to, I sit in the jump seat and close my eyes for a few minutes,” she said.

Both Glessing and Reynolds said that dealing with jet lag is much harder for newer flight attendants than it is for more experienced ones.

“Senior flight attendants who hold international flights don’t get jet-lagged as much because they fly the same trips all month long so their bodies get used to the schedule,” Glessing said.

“For a more junior flight attendant or a reserve flight attendant who has two hours notice before the flight jet lag seems to be more of an issue,” she added.

Reynolds agreed, saying that she’s used to the routine of travelling, so she doesn’t get too jet-lagged. Still, there are some trips that affect her sleep cycle. “The hardest transitions for me I would say would be coming back to Los Angeles from New York after a week because the three hour time difference is just enough time that it messes with my head,” she said. “I fall asleep earlier than I want to and wake up early once I get back home.”

Both Glessing and Reynolds said that it’s important to be upbeat and positive on the plane, so they make sure to prepare before a flight if they’re feeling drowsy

Glessing told INSIDER that she likes to spend time by herself to recharge her batteries. Reynolds said that she likes to have everything ready and prepared the night before so that she is stress-free the next day.

If you’re travelling frequently or if you want the pro tips on how to power through jet lag, it turns out it’s not as complicated as you might think. Both Glessing and Reynolds told INSIDER that sometimes you just have to push through the sleepiness, drink some coffee, and capitalise on any opportunities for some extra rest.

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