Five alternative ways to beat jet lag

Can you beat jet lag with alternative therapies?

Do you suffer from jet lag? Tried all of the usual medicines and remedies and still can't get you body clock back in sync? Well, have you tried alternative therapies to help combat the effects of air travel on your health?

Conventional methods of overcoming jet lag – the tired and sluggish feeling you get after flying across any of the world’s 24 different time zones – are generally well known, and include things such as synchronizing your body clock some days before the flight; drinking lots of fluid to stave off dehydration during the flight; sleeping on the plane if it’s bedtime in your arrival city or staying awake if it isn’t; and working according to local times as closely as possible.

However, sometimes these efforts won’t have the desired effect, and you may need to look for alternative ways of beating jet leg. With this in mind, here is’s look at some of the alternative therapies which may help to combat the effects of jet lag. These include light therapy, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, homeopathy, and self-massage.

Light therapy

Using light therapy will affect the production of melatonin in the body. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body during darkness and is broken down during daylight – and its presence or absence effectively causes you to feel sleepy in the dark and awake in the sunshine. An intense application of light is thought to ‘reset’ the body clock by suppressing the production of melatonin – thereby keeping you awake during the daytime at your destination. Some people have been able to avoid, or at least minimize the effects of, jet lag by using light therapy – so why not try it?


Special aromatherapy jet lag kits are available, which have carrier oils containing essential plant oils to dab on your wrists, temples and feet. Some of these essential oils – such as those containing grapefruit, cardamom and rosemary – are stimulating, and help to keep you alert and refreshed if you need to stay awake. On the other hand, some of the oils have calming, sedative properties – such as those containing lavender and mandarin – which can be used to aid relaxation if you’re having trouble sleeping during or after your flight.

Herbal remedies

Passion flower, camomile, valerian, lettuce tea, hops and pulsatilla are just some of the traditional herbal remedies you can use to help calm your mind and induce sleep. These may be able to help when your body clock has been disrupted during your flight. Most herbal remedies are available as teas or standardized tablets in many health shops.


Some homeopathy practitioners recommend taking the Cocculus 30 remedy twice a day for two days before the day of your flight, as well as during the flight and for two days afterwards. It is considered to be a good remedy for jet lag because it deals with problems associated with not getting a proper night’s sleep. It is often also combined with arnica in a ‘jet leg combination’ at homeopathic pharmacies.


Slide rules set up according to the rules of ancient Chinese acupuncture (taking into account your flight’s starting point as well as your destination, with due consideration of daylight savings time), help to select points on the body which ought to be given a massage treatment once every hour during your flight. The effectiveness of self-massage is debatable though, as it may prevent you from getting any sleep on your journey.

Solving the problem of jet lag …

Modern science and ancient methods have not yet come up with a practical cure for jet lag that works for everyone. Some methods may work to some extent for some people, but not for others, or may work on some occasions and not on others. The best thing to do is to use some of the alternative therapies that we’ve mentioned here in combination with planning to have an extra day or two off after your flights – so that you give yourself enough time to recover from the effects of jet lag.

Comments (4)

  • TonySmith2 ' I find the best thing to do is to stay up at your destination for as long as you can so that you go to sleep when it is actually night time where you are. You might be knakced for a short while but it's better than trying to ease yourself into your new time zone over a period of several days.'

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  • PaulRitchie2 'The best thing to do is try and adjust to your time zone a few days before you leave. It may not be perfect but at least the jet lag will be less severe.'

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  • adam_s 'A few drops of lavender oil have certainly helped me, not just with jet lag but sleep in general.'

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  • IrisJ50 'We fly to Thailand nearly every year which means at least a 14-16 hour flight and so we find that as soon as you get into your seat on the aircraft turn your watch to the time at your destination likewise on the way home turn your watch to the time it is at home or destination. It works for us. Also if,like us you have a long haul flight then see if you can break it up. We now find it easier by stopping at Abu Dhabi and then going on to Bankok. As my husband and I are of the "older" generation, he is 71 and I am 62, we find this is a great help. Another way is to try and get a night flight the aicraft is darkened for a few hours so that most people can grab some sleep.'

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