Jet lag is a lot like a hangover; you feel drowsy, dehydrated and confused. If you enjoy traveling, you come to terms with it, the same way you do if you like to have a drink or two. Your body’s time clock is disoriented when you travel halfway around the world and there’s basically no way to completely avoid jet lag, but we have a few ways to cope with it and brush it off in no time to make sure your well-deserved holiday isn’t a shambles.

Jet lag is usually caused by a flights direction, not its length. It is generally worse when you lose time traveling west to east. And if you’re an older adult, jet lag may hit you harder and recovery may take longer.

Symptoms of jet lag include disturbed sleep patterns, headaches, exhaustion, and upset tummy. Everyone’s susceptible, especially the over-60s. Research suggests that’s because phase tolerance – the ability to sleep at an abnormal time – decreases with age.

Here are some easy tips to help prevent jet lag:

Before the flight

Adjust your sleep routine
If you’re going to the east: Start going to bed earlier a few days before traveling. Do the opposite if you’re traveling west.

Adjust your sleep routine
If you’re going to the east: Start going to bed earlier a few days before traveling. Do the opposite if you’re traveling west.

Stopover
It’s better for your body to adjust gradually to the new time zone if you can have at least one stopover on the way.

Stay calm
Try to avoid things that make you feel more stressed. Relax and try to prepare things in advance before traveling, such as checking in online or take a nice massage at the airport before the flight.

During the flight

Stay hydrated
Drink a lot of water before, during, and after your flight. Dehydration makes jet lag symptoms worse, so stay hydrated.

Adapt to your new schedule
Try to eat and sleep according to the local time of your destination during the flight and a few days before the flight if you can. It will help you get into the mindset of what you’ll be doing in the place where you’re going. Try to sleep on the plane if it’s nighttime where you’re going or stay awake if it’s daytime. Use an eye mask and earplugs to simulate the right conditions for sleeping.

Use remedies with caution
Sleep medication isn’t recommended as it won’t help your body adjust naturally to new sleep patterns. Try to relax during the flight, doing meditation or perhaps listening to relaxing music. If these strategies don’t work for you, your doctor may prescribe or suggest medications to take temporarily to help you sleep or stay alert when necessary.

Move around
Get up, do some stretches for your body or take walks around the cabin. After the flight, avoid heavy exercises close to your bedtime as it can delay your sleep.

After Flight

Spend the day outdoor
Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. The daylight can help you adjust to the new time zone quicker. If you’re going to the west, get more morning light when you arrive and avoid the afternoon sun to shift your circadian rhythm backward. If you’re going to the east, seek afternoon light instead to move it forwards, towards the sleep phase.

Take a hot bath before bedtime
A bath can ease sore muscles from travel and help you relax and wind down. The drop in your body temperature when you get out of a bath may also make you sleepy.

Get back to a natural sleep rhythm
Try to get a minimum of 2 hours of sleep during the local nighttime. This trains your body to operate on a 24-hour rhythm – vital for adapting to new time zones.

Take a nap
Take short naps to get the same amount of sleep you’d normally have in a day to recover your lost sleep.

Stay on ‘home time’
For short trips: If visiting for fewer than 4 days, and if it’s practical, time sleeping and eating to occur as they would at home.

Jet lag may last several days before you are fully adjusted to the new time zone; a recovery period of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline. Jet lag is especially an issue for airline pilots, crew, and frequent travelers.

Like I mentioned earlier, these simple tricks will not stop jet lag entirely, but it will make the jet lag last less time and help to be at your 100% in no time.