How to beat jet lag

Ah travel—booking tickets, hopping on a plane, immersing yourself in a new locale, and…feeling more tired than you’ve ever felt before. Jet lag is our name for all of the circadian disruption—and subsequent fatigue—that comes from traveling and changing time zones. While we can’t help with the physical toll being in an airplane seat for 10 hours can take, we can help with the disorientation that comes when suddenly your breakfast time is now your bedtime. 

Here’s our recipe for beating jet lag:

  • Decide your goal: Do you want to be as alert as possible in your new location? Or do you want to minimize how much you adjust, since you have an important meeting in your home time zone the day after you return?
  • Use light to adjust your internal circadian rhythms before or after you land, depending on your preferences. Light is the biggest way you can tell your body that breakfast actually needs to happen four hours earlier. By being strategic about when you get your light exposure, you can adjust 3-4 times faster than you would if you just tried to adopt your normal schedule in the new time zone.
  • Time your food, sleep and caffeine to boost your adjustment speed. Our apps can tell you both the best time to get light, but also times to eat, nap, and seek/avoid caffeine to help your body adjust to your new time zone. 

You might be saying, “Ok, but what are the right times for me?” The right answer is: It’s complicated. It depends on where you’re coming from, where you’re going to, and what you’ve done recently—all of which matter for building an accurate adjustment plan for you. The good news is that we’ve got a full-service circadian rhythms platform for figuring that out from your phone and wearable data. That’s why we’re (re-)building Entrain, our app for jet lag, to help you shift faster and get more out of your travel. Want to be the first when it comes back? Sign up for our mailing list here: