No, Virginia, there is no JET LAG!

Airport Alon asleep zagreb airport watermarkDuring this holiday season many people will by flying for a vacation or to visit family.   For those who fly over several time zones – this sometimes leads to what many call "jet lag."  Well I'm here to tell you that jet lag is not inevitable and can be totally avoided!   With personal experience of traveling numerous transatlantic flights - I traveled over 70,000 km (45,00 miles)  in one year alone -  and having traveled long hauls (20+ hours) with children at various ages,  I believe that you do not have to suffer from jet lag.   You do, however, need to follow a few important guidelines to prevent feeling the symptoms of what we refer to as jet lag:

Water - Drink, Drink and Drink Some More

This is probably the most important factor in preventing jet lag.   When you fly you dehydrate.  The air you breathe while flying is compressed air that is dry.  Also - in order for your in-flight meal to be edible, large amounts of salt  are added.  In higher elevations our taste buds don't work as well.  If you save your meal and eat it on the ground, you will realize how salty it is!   You must drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration which causes tiredness (thus the feeling of jet lag,) 

I suggest taking an empty bottle on the plane (Make sure you empty it before going through security) and then once on the plane ask the flight attendant to fill it up with water.  Drink constantly and fill up the bottle with water every time you finish it.   

By drinking water you will also have to get up and use the lavatory which is why I always request an aisle seat.  Getting up leads us to another important factor in preventing jet lag:

Moving and Stretching

Getting up, moving and stretching on the plane can also help you arrive without jet lag.  Sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy and can even be dangerous for those who have circulation challenges. 

Get up and move around the plane. Go talk to the cabin crew in the back, visit the lavatory or just take a walk up and down the aisle.

tube copyrightIn most of the newer planes there is an area near the back of the plane where you can do some stretching exercises.  Raise your arms up and out, twist, bend over to stretch the back of your legs and lower calves.  Rise up on your toes several times (that's relevé for you ex-ballerinas) to stretch your calves.  Spend at least 15 minutes standing up and stretching and moving your feet and legs.  Do this at least once every few hours during long flights.

While you are sitting in your seat you can also increase circulation in your legs:  Circle your feet at the ankle in both directions and also point and flex the feet. Use Reflexology to increase circulation by pressing with your thumbs and fingers all over the foot, especially on the ball of the foot.  This area tends to get swollen after sitting for long periods.

Hand Reflex point for constipation


For those of you who learned Basic Hand Reflexology, do the series of hand exercises and Reflexology on the hands to help increase circulation to your internal organs as well.  To prevent constipation, massage the reflex area for the descending colon which is found below the little finger on the left hand.  Massage downward from under the ball of the hand to above the wrist.   Constipation is another factor associated with travel and what is called "jet lag".

 Don't Look Back

Once you get on the plane set your watches to the time of your destination.   It is imperative to not think about the time zone you were in.   Many travelers have the tendency to say "oh – of course I’m tired now because it's the middle of the night in country x."   This just confuses the mind and doesn't allow you to adjust to your new time zone.  Set your watches and keep your mind only in the new time zone.

Night and Day, You are the One- ♫

Separate day from night.  When it is daytime in you new destination, go out and be in the sun.   This allows your body to realize that it is daytime and understand that you should now be awake and up.  If you have a long flight and have a stop-over during the day for several hours, try to go outside of the airport terminal.  It's tempting to find a hot-spot at the airport and just sit and use your computer, but your body needs to be outside and to move.

Being outside in the sun will help your body get use to the time change.  It is also important to get as much fresh air as you can after being cooped up in a plane and terminal where there is only circulated air. 

Finally, while you are outside walk as much as you can.  If you only have carry on luggage and enough time between flights, walk from terminal to terminal rather than sit on the shuttle bus or sky train.  If you have a longer stopover, see if you can take a bus or train into town and walk.*

When I have a long stopover at Heathrow airport, I take the tube for a few stations to a nearby town and spend a few hours walking around there.  At JFK I just walk between the terminals to get some air.  Even though the air by the airport is not the freshest, it is better than breathing other people's air that you have been breathing in closed planes and terminals.

*Always check with the airport staff to see what time you need to be back at the terminal to pass through security so you make your flight!

asleep on floor  copyrightWhen to Sleep

Today the in-flight programs on many of the airplanes can keep us busy for hours with movies, television programs and games.   It is important, however, to try to close your eyes and nap for a few hours on a long flight or take several short naps.   It is also important not to sleep for too long especially if you are arriving to your destination at night and want to be able to go to sleep soon after landing.

The trick most people know to prevent jet lag which really does work is to try to stay up at least till 10:00 PM (22:00) at your new destination.  This will help you sleep through the night.   If you can stay up till 11:00 PM or midnight then you will have a better chance of sleeping through the night. 

If you arrive early in the day and know you can't possibly stay up till late at night, allow yourself a very short nap (no more than 2 hours) and make sure you will wake up after.  Then spend the rest of the day outside in the sunshine.   If you ever feel "I'm just going to close my eyes for a few minutes..." make sure you set your phone alarm.  Last year my husband and I arrived on a long transatlantic flight to San Francisco in the morning.  While spending time outside to adjust to the time change, we lay down on the grass to close our eyes "for a minute."  Luckily I set my alarm for 10 minutes.  We were sound asleep and would have most probably slept for hours outside and gotten sunburned had I not set the alarm on my phone! 

If you or your kids do wake up during the night keep the lights off and just speak quietly.   In most cases you will probably fall back asleep in an hour or two. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and I hope to hear from all you travelers that you too agree that there is no such thin as jet lag!

Oran Aviv, a senior Reflexologist since 1995, has been helping adults and children stay healthy for over 20 years in the Sharon area (Kfar Saba, Ra'anana, Hod Hasharon, Herzelia.)
Oran believes that everyone should put their health in their own hands – even literally, she teaches basic Hand Reflexology workshops across the country.
To have Oran teach your group or to arrange a Reflexology  and consultation session email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call her at (053)553-3856


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