Planning to defeat jet lag by staying up all night before your flight is a bad idea. The thought is to make yourself so exhausted that you’ll get on the plane and immediately fall into slumber and stay asleep for the entire flight, and when the plane lands, you’ll awake refreshed and rarin’ to go. Here’s the problem with that premise: Airplanes are a terrible place to catch some shut-eye.
At best, you’re trying to sleep in an unfamiliar environment, and that alone is enough to disrupt your nap. At worst, you won’t be comfortably ensconced in a luxurious first-class seat but stuck back in coach with a full house of passengers. Conditions will be crowded and noisy and the flight will be far from restful.
Most flights that cause jet lag issues last at least five hours. That’s not enough time to get a full night’s sleep. Unless you can get along with fewer than four hours of dozing, you’ll still be exhausted when you arrive. Grumpiness, difficulty concentrating and a burning desire to catch a real nap will accompany you the rest of the day until you can crash in a quiet, dark place with a comfortable bed.
You’ll be happier if you get a full night of restful sleep before your flight and try another trick to defeat jet lag.
Instead of booking overnight travel next time, find a daytime flight to avoid jet lag symptoms. You won’t have to force yourself to stay upright during a full day after arriving. Just eat dinner, go to bed and start over again the next day.
You also won’t be fighting against an overwhelming urge to take a nap in the middle of daylight hours. If napping is necessary, make it a short one—no longer than two hours—in the early afternoon. Set an alarm so that you don’t oversleep.
If you absolutely must get some shut-eye, taking a few items onto the flight will make sleeping easier. Take a neck pillow, as it’s hard to get any decent sleep without neck support while sleeping upright. A light blanket will also keep you comfortable in the air-conditioned cabin. An eye mask will also help to shut out any irritating light—just make sure it’s light and doesn’t put any excess pressure on your eyes.
If you still can’t rid yourself of jet lag symptoms, try a homeopathic remedy. Anti-jet lag tablets made with natural ingredients help eliminate post-flight grogginess for countless people, and can be found at your local retailer or online.