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Originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.

man jet lag sleeping

While the modern miracle of air travel makes it possible to soar to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, the swift traversing of time zones can result in everything from insomnia and exhaustion to headaches, nausea, and disorientation. There’s no doubt that jet lag, aka “circadian desynchrony” in medical circles, can take a serious toll. And while there’s no official cure, its effects can and should be mitigated for the sake of your vacation, say our advisors. Here's how.

“Set your watch to your destination time when you board the plane and act as if you’re already in that time zone. If it’s night there, try to sleep. If it’s day, do your best to stay awake.”

– JOHN OBERACKER, Long Beach, California

“To help you sleep during your flight, I highly recommend wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. I also bring my own neck pillow and cashmere pashmina that doubles as a blanket. And of course, flying business or first class will help you rest and be ready for your arrival.”

– MARY ANN RAMSEY, Naples, Florida

“If it’s feasible, schedule an overnight layover en route to your ultimate destination. During my recent family vacation to Hawaii, for example, I arranged flights with a hotel stay in San Francisco, which significantly lessened our jet lag.”


“Stress-reducing massages and spa treatments are essential for reducing jet lag – think airport massages and jet-lag therapies on arriving at your destination.”

– PAÔLA MANSUR, São Paulo, Brazil

“If you arrive during the day, stay active and get as much sunlight as possible. I recommend taking a private tour that will help you get familiar with your destination, requires minimal brain power, and keeps you from slipping into your bed too early.”

– KRISTEN LOWREY LARSON, Folsom, California