Battling Jetlag : Tips for travelling back to Japan

Long haul flights can be trying at the best of times, but even more so when you know you will soon be greeted with the horror of all travel horrors –


Anyone who has never experienced this curse should understand just how lucky they are. It leaves you tired in the middle of day, yet surprisingly awake in the early AM hours.

Travelling from the UK to Japan comes with a pretty bad case of jet lag for most. The time difference is either 8 or 9 hours depending on DST, and the flight time averages around 12-14 hours (dependant on airlines, routes etc.).

When I came to Japan for the first time, I remember all my training group from work complaining about always being awake too early, and finding it so difficult to adjust their body clocks to the right time zone. Everyone but me anyways.

Yes. I was one of the lucky few you have heard about in the legends. I suffered from zero jetlag. I even amazed myself. And here I am going to share my secrets – and you might be surprised. Many articles talk about drinking lots of fluids on the plane, and adjusting you body clock the second you step onto the aircraft. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just fall asleep at the drop of a hat. So, my advice might be a little bit controversial, but it worked wonders for me.

Tip One : Don’t Worry about it!

Worrying about jetlag is probably one of the main causes of actually experiencing it. So, my first tip is just to relax. If you get it, you get it. It only lasts a few days anyway, and you’ll be back to normal eventually. Seriously, worse things could happen. Plus, if you’re all relaxed, you might be able to sleep better on the plane.

Tip Two: Sleep as much as you can on the plane – whatever time it is

Don’t try and plan your sleep on the plane to your new time zone, your body wont accept it just like that. Instead, try and have lots of short naps throughout the flight. This way, you’ll be getting the rest you need, without messing up either of your body clocks.

Tip Three: You have to stay awake until a respectable bedtime

This is the toughest step. You absolutely must stay awake until a normal bedtime when you arrive at your destination. This is why tip 2 is so helpful. You also want to stay awake as late as possible. This helps your body stay asleep until morning, instead of waking you up too early.

Tip Four: Get Drunk

No, really. This is what saved me from jetlag. I arrived in Japan around dinner time, had a shower and changed, went out for dinner, then went drinking until 3am. And not a smidge of jetlag to be seen. This is the real secret. It helps you stay awake at night, and helps you to sleep in as late as possible the next day.

So, if you can, get drunk when you arrive, and stay up until the early hours of the morning before you sleep. Your liver may not thank you for it – but the rest of your body will. Well, just this once.


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