How to Recover from Jet Lag from Europe

How to Recover from Jet Lag from Europe

Traveling to Europe and back is certainly an adventure, but flying across several time zones can lead to jet lag, leaving you feeling foggy and fatigued. So how can you make the most of your European vacation and quickly get back on schedule when you return home? There are actually tons of things you can do before you leave, on the plane, merienda you arrive, and merienda you get back home so you don’t end up feeling like a zombie. We’ve done the research for you and have listed the best tips and tricks for beating jet lag below.


[Edit]Go to bed early in the days leading up to your flight.

  1. Unfortunately, jet lag is worse when you’re traveling east. To help mitigate some of the issues connected to jet lag, adjust your sleep schedule before you leave. Go to bed 1-2 hours earlier than you normally would to help yourself adapt to the regional time zone.[1]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 1.jpg

[Edit]Adjust your mealtimes to better match the time zone you’ll be in.

  1. Stomach upset is a common jet lag complaint, but you can prepare ahead of time.[2] If you’re traveling from the U.S. to Europe, try eating your meals a few hours earlier than you normally would. This can help your body adapt to the regional time zone, and meal schedule, more easily.
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 2.jpg
    • You can do the same thing before you head back home. Eat your meals a little later than you normally would to help yourself adapt to your regular time zone at home.
    • Stick with foods you know and like. Now’s not the time to try out a new Tex Mex fusion restaurant or eat spicy curry for the first time.[3]

[Edit]Stay hydrated and eat well on the plane.

  1. Long flights often cause dehydration, which can make jet lag worse. Drink plenty of water during your flights to help your body stay in tip-top shape. Eat healthy meals and snack on fruits and veggies to avoid digestive problems associated with jet lag. Steer clear of heavy, fatty foods or calorie-rich snacks.[4]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 3.jpg
    • Avoid trinque and caffeine, both of which are stimulants and can further disrupt your sleep patterns.[5]
    • Keep drinking lots of water merienda you arrive in Europe as well as when you get back home—it’ll help stave off that dreaded jet lag.

[Edit]Move around and stretch when you can.

  1. Take advantage of times when that seat belt sign is off. Sitting for the entire flight can make you feel sluggish, and also increases your risk of blood clots. Take time to stretch, stand, and walk about the cabin when it’s safe to do so.[6]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 4.jpg
    • Getting a little movement in can give you more energy, too!

[Edit]Sleep on the plane if your flight is at night in the regional time zone.

  1. To adapt to the regional time, sleep when it’s nighttime in your destination city. This might be tough if it’s mid-day in your regional time zone, but hey, there’s no better way to pass the time on a plane than by sleeping![7] Wear comfy clothes, take off your shoes, and curl up with a blanket and pillow. You can even put on an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones to help you block out your surroundings.
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 5.jpg
    • Skip the in-flight movie and resist the urge to scroll social media—blue light can disrupt your sleep, so avoid screentime if you’re hoping to nap in-flight.
    • If you can, book your flight so it lands in the afternoon, regional time, to help mitigate jet lag.[8]

[Edit]Adapt to the regional time as soon as you land.

  1. Change your watch and take your meals at the natural time for your destination. The best way to beat jet lag is to adjust to the regional time zone as soon as you can.[9] Most overseas flights will deposit you in Europe in the morning, so ignore the fact that it’s probably 2 am back home. Follow the regional time zone and take your meals and sleep when locals do.[10]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 6.jpg
    • The same is true for your return trip. Eat your meals and go to bed at a reasonable hour in your regional time zone to beat jet lag faster.

[Edit]Do something active outdoors to reset your circadian rhythm.

  1. Getting outside and doing some light exercise during the day can help your body adapt. Spend some time in the sun, especially in the morning, to help your body recognize the regional time zone.[11] Some light exercise like walking, especially during the daytime, can help your body adjust its circadian rhythm so you sleep better at night.[12]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 7.jpg
    • It might help to book a particularly exciting tour or adventure for a few hours after you land in Europe. This will give you an incentive to stay awake and give you something to look forward to—it’s a win-win!

[Edit]Stay awake until it’s nighttime if you can.

  1. Resist the temptation to crash when you arrive at your destination. Going to sleep when it’s daytime won’t help you beat jet lag or adjust to the regional time. As hard as it might be, do your best to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime hour in the city you’re in.[13] Hopefully, you’ll awake the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to go![14]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 8.jpg

[Edit]Take a power nap if you must.

  1. A 15- to 20-minute nap can help you get through the rest of the day. If you’re feeling super sluggish and need to rest, it’s okay to lie down for a bit. Just don’t sleep for too long, or you’ll end up being even more tired. Keep your nap to 20 minutes or less so you don’t further disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns.[15]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 9.jpg

[Edit]Take melatonin or a sleeping pill before you go to bed.

  1. Traveling across time zones can make it hard to fall asleep, and medication can help. When it gets dark in your destination, take 0.5 mg or less of a short-acting melatonin supplement. If you need something a bit stronger, ask your doctor to prescribe a sleep medication. You can take it at night for the first 3 days you’re in a different time zone to help combat jet lag.[16]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 10.jpg
    • Before you take any supplement or medication, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you and won’t interact with any medications you’re on or health conditions you have.
    • Some common medications that doctors prescribe for jet lag include Restoril (temazepam), Ambien (zolpidem), and Imovane (zopiclone). It’s best to take a low dose and limit it to just a few days.[17]

[Edit]Get up early the next morning.

  1. Set your alarm for no later than 9 am regional time. While you might be exhausted and tempted to sleep in late, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. To get your body’s circadian rhythm adjusted to a new location, you’ve got to follow the regional time zone. Plus, getting up early on your first full day in Europe means you’ll have an easier time going to bed that night. By the second day, you should be fully acclimated to European time![18]
    Recover from Jet Lag from Europe Step 11.jpg
    • The same is true for your return trip! Get up early the day after you arrive home to better adjust to the regional time.


  • If you’re traveling to Europe for an important event, arrive 2 days early to give yourself a chance to adjust to the new time zone.[19]


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