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How To Beat Jet Lag: Practical Advice From A Serial Traveler

fitness expert jillian michaels podcast by the skinny confidential

Hey guys, Michael again.

If you read The Skinny Confidential & follow Lauryn on Instagram Stories/Snapchat you have probably seen me scrambling around at the airport or in a foreign city like a psychopath.  

That’s because I am on a mission.  

The mission: to beat jet lag & conquer every airport I step foot in. To destroy the hoards of civilians who sluggishly pile through airport security! To defeat the people who stack up against the baggage claim & hold their bag for dear life as it drags them across the claim belt! To obliterate the snot-nosed sneezing infant that is passing viral fluid through the air! 

Woah! Sorry! That was getting heated. Let’s slow down…

Today I won’t go on a rave about airport travel ( even though I really want to ). Today I want to talk to you about JET LAG.

Defined by Google: Jet lagalso called desynchronosis & flight fatigue, is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, & other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones. It is considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, which is a disruption of the internal body clock.

So let’s dive in:

For years I have been trying to figure out the best way to beat Jet lag and I can finally say I think I have it down. This data has been compiled over 20 years of traveling to foreign places & multiple time zones. Lauryn & I have to travel a lot for work and sometimes the turn around is quick. If we are jet lagged it really effects the trip and ruins the experience. So today I hope I can provide some value by sharing how I have learned to beat jet lag.

Michael Bosstick shares how to beat jet lag | by the skinny confidential

Below you will find my 12 steps to beat jet lag.

  1. Prep Before You Leave: If you know in advance where you are traveling to, start adjusting your body to the time zone about a week ahead. If you are in the US and traveling to Europe start going to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
  2. No Caffeine: The day of the flight do not drink any coffee or caffeine. There is a long lasting effect in caffeine that will make it difficult to sleep when you finally need to.
  3. Forget Home Time: Once you’re done battling the hoards at the airport and get on your flight, set your watch to the time zone you are traveling to. Completely stop thinking about your current time zone. Don’t do the “what time is it at home” thing. Just set your watch to the destination time and tell your body and mind “that’s what time it is.”
  4. Limit Alcohol: If you are going to have a drink on the plane, limit it to 1. Substitute the rest with water. When you are at a high altitude and you drink too much alcohol, the alcohol becomes more potent & dehydrates the body. This will destroy quality sleep, which will further add to your jet lag.
  5. Resist Sleep: When you are on the plane resist sleeping at the wrong time. Since you set your watch to the time zone you are traveling to you can now tell if it’s the right or wrong time. If it says 3pm in the time zone you are traveling to. Do not sleep. Gut through it. Work on your computer. Work on an iPad or iPhone. The artificial light from these devices will help keep you awake ( Lauryn uses these weird yellow glasses to fight artificial light, HA! ).
  6. Prep to Rest and Quality Rest: If it’s time to try to sleep or you know it’s getting near the time, get off your phone, iPad, computer, or TV screen 1 hour prior and start relaxing. Just like the previous tip, the artificial light from these devices will keep you awake. We want to shut down and give the body the best chance to get some rest when we need it. ( Bonus: use noise canceling headphones & a calming app- Lauryn & I use Relax Melodies. This will help you fall asleep ).
  7. Hot/Cold Shower: When you land and get checked in to wherever you are staying the first thing you should do is unpack clothes for the day/night and take a hot/cold shower. First use the hot water to relax a bit, clean the airport germs off your body and then SHOCK your body with some freezing cold water. This will shock your system & get you fired up for the next part.
  8. Have a meal: Whatever time of day/night it is, go have a meal that corresponds with that in the local time zone. If it’s breakfast, go have breakfast. If it’s lunch have lunch. Drink a ton of water. I have 1-2 cocktails at this point as well because I feel like it helps to let my body and mind know that it’s not bedtime. For some this makes them tired. If you don’t drink don’t worry about this part. It’s personal preference.
  9. Walk & Get Sunlight: Take a walk to digest and orient your body with the new surroundings. If it’s daylight, get a minimum of ten minutes in the sun. ( Lauryn will disagree with me here because of sun exposure- you know she won’t go in the sun for a second! Ten minutes won’t kill you ). I think the sun helps to orient your body and mind with the new time zone.
  10. Crush a Workout: Go to the gym and work out as hard as you can for at least 30-45 minutes. If there is no gym exercise outside. Do not workout in your hotel room or AIRBNB. You will be tempted to sleep.
  11. Gut Through It: Do not sleep until it’s the appropriate time! I cannot stress this enough. If you nap you are screwed. It will make the next 3-4 days a living hell. You will be tired. You will miss your trip and you will be miserable. Lauryn never listens to me & this always happens to her. You need to dig deep & gut through it. Navy Seals are asked to stay up for 3 days during seal training while also training their asses off. You can do one day. Don’t be a baby ( ahem, LAURYN! ).
  12. Defeat Jet Lag: Finally your head will hit the pillow at the appropriate time & you’ll be so exhausted from the exertion that you should get a good night’s sleep and be right back on schedule for the next morning.

I am telling you with complete certainty that if you can follow the tips above you have a really strong chance of beating jet lag. There is nothing worse than spending your entire trip sleeping through the days & tossing & turning through the night. It ruins the entire experience. If you can take my advice to heart and tough through a couple of uncomfortable days you will beat jet lag & save your trip.

I wish you all good luck on your mission!

Over and out – Michael

+ be sure to check out the latest podcast with fitness guru, Kim Kelly- she’s like a Navy Seal with her workouts! Also if you guys liked this post, let me know & we will dedicate a whole podcast episode to jet lag/travel hacks.

++ read more posts by Michael | check out Lauryn’s airport style.

{ follow along on Instagram & Snapchat: @michaelbosstick }

Some Of Our Favorite Travel Swag:

  1. These are great tips but I also don’t blame Lauryn for wanting to take a nap- SOOO tempting. But alas, it’s worth it to push through the day and go to sleep at a normal time!

  2. No.1 is the most important! I have travelled so many times where Destination Time is 12pm, but everyone on the plane decides to have an 8 hour snooze!! Not very clever and really messes up the body clock!

  3. Michael, crushed it. Fun to “hear your voice” here. I have one important thing to add that works for m: drink a liter of water with every-single-meal. And in between as well, but down an entire liter of water on your own each meal. Works wonders.

    Enjoy Monaco!



  4. Loved this post!!! Would looooove to hear a podcast on travel/jet lag. Taking walks/working out, TONS of water, and definitely sleeping at the right times is the only way I can ever beat it.

  5. No caffeine plus auto adjusting to the new time zone are such great tips – I find a long walk around a new city when I need to stay up always helps too! Great post!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  6. My friend asked last week for some of me & my dad’s jet lag tips (he used to travel overseas a crazy amount for work like CK status and he still travels frequently). Our tips are pretty much the same as yours!
    — No alcohol. As tempting as it is to take advantage of free drinks on board and in the travel lounge, absolutely no alcohol on the day of travel or the day before (it messes with your sleep unfortunately)

    — Hydrate. Only drink water on the plane. Use bathroom breaks to stretch & walk around the back galley

    — Exercise. Try to exercise when you land, or at least the day you arrive. Exercising right when you land is probably best but I usually have meetings and such when I land. We have both found that as long as you exercise the day you land it is instrumental in fighting jet lag. It helps you fall asleep that first night, fights the urge to nap, and readjusts the body to the new time zone

    — ***Treat day 2 the same. Staying asleep through night 2 is usually the most difficult and can affect your sleep schedule the rest of the trip (Falling asleep the first night usually goes well since you’re exhausted from travel. It sucks but don’t oversleep the first night, wake up at a normal hour). Go to bed at the right local time night 2 especially. Make sure to exercise on day 2, be extra diligent in hydrating, no alcohol or at least limit it (?I know)

    No caffeine travel day then limit caffeine to what you would normally consume.
    Also no sleeping pills/ melatonin. It messes with your internal clock too much even if you try to time it right.
    I take some medications that can mess with my sleep (ADHD meds). When possible I try to adjust the time I take it by a couple of hours towards the local time before I travel and I take a half dose on travel day. And I make sure I take it super early on day 2 or take a half dose on day 2 so I can sleep that night.

    Basically we are psycho about treating night 2’s sleep as sacred but my dad the pro swears by this!!!

    Boring I know but it works especially if you need to be awake and alert to work. After you sleep soundly on night 2 because you were a sober psycho, you are good to go and can have fun. But obviously you should enjoy yourself on vacation and can ignore the alcohol rules haha

    The hot/ cold shower is a great tip – I am definitely going to add this to my routine!
    I hope you guys are having a wonderful trip!!

  7. This makes me want to go somewhere! Forget home time, this is so hard because you want to be in contact with people from home but don’t want to text/call them at 4am… Great advice!

  8. I literally read the second suggestion and was like ” YOU BASTARD!” “how am I supposed to be emotionally ready for my full anal cavity search at the airport without my coffee?” Then By the time I got to suggestion four I was like ” YOU BASTARD!” “How am I supposed to recover from my full anal cavity search without a cocktail!” And I know you’re probably thinking “Girl, that is not a typical experience.” What can I say, I fly United 😉 Great Tips Michael, love your guest posts!

  9. Ok what would you do in this hypothetical:

    Flying LA to Beijing, leaving at 2pm Pacific (5am Beijing time) on Day 1, landing 6pm Bejing time on Day 2.

    So when you get on the plane do you pretend it is 5am and you are just waking up? Meaning you stay awake for the whole flight and are awake for close to 24 hours? Or do you nap on the plane?

  10. Great post and recommendations Michael! Just got back from extended travel and these was timely and worked wonders! Good stuff!

  11. Thanks, this was really helpful. I’ve been traveling a lot recently for vacation and I can’t seem to get decent sleep, especially on planes! Great article.

  12. Going to Italy in 6 days and i’m starting to adjust my body already. Also shared this article with my parents who will be doing the same. Thanks for the great tips! I always made the alcohol/caffeine mistake in the past. Not this time 🙂

  13. Thank you for these tips! I always get so jet lagged and I needed this so much for my next trip. So curious though, I noticed Michael said to stay up as long as you can and don’t take a nap…. but what if when you leave for your flight it’s night time in the location you are going & it’s a 14+ hr trip? Would you still fight sleeping/napping or try to get on schedule with the time zone of the travel location by napping? Thx! ?

    1. Great post and recommendations Michael! Just got back from extended travel and these was timely and worked wonders! Good stuff!

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