Crossing time zones

The main but not the only cause of jet stress is crossing time zones. Usually going east is worse than going west. Children under three don't seem to suffer jet stress badly as they are more adaptive and less set in their ways. Adults who adjust readily to changes of routine also seem less susceptible to jet stress. Those who are slaves to a fixed daily routine are often the worst sufferers.


This is one of the most important aspects of combating jet stress. Before departing, make sure you have all your affairs, business and personal, in order. Ensure you are not stressed-out with excitement or worry, and not tired or hungover from a function the night before. Get plenty of exercise in the days prior to departure and try to avoid sickness such as the flu, colds and so on. If you have a cold, flying will probably make it worse - ideally you should delay the trip. Get a good night's sleep just prior to departure.

East or west?

There is much debate about whether it is better to fly eastward or westward. It may be largely a matter of personal preference, but there is some evidence that flying westwards causes less jet stress than flying eastwards.

Night or day flight?

Again it is largely a matter of personal preference based on experience. Most travellers think daytime flights cause less jet stress.

Drinking fluids

The dry air in aircraft causes dehydration. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids counters this. Water is better than coffee, tea and fruit juices. Alcohol not only is useless in combating dehydration, but has a markedly greater intoxicating effect when drunk in the rarefied atmosphere of an airliner than it does at ground level.

Sleeping aids

Blindfolds, ear plugs, neckrests and blow-up pillows are all useful in helping you get quality sleep while flying. Kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet (some airlines provide soft sock-like slippers, and many experienced travellers carry their own).


Get as much exercise as you can. Walking up and down the aisle, standing for spells, and doing small twisting and stretching exercises in your seat all help to reduce discomfort, especially swelling of legs and feet. Get off the plane if possible at stopovers, and do some exercises or take a walk. Also helps to reduce the possibilities of blood clots and associated trauma.


During extended stopovers on a long-haul flight, showers are sometimes available. A shower not only freshens you up but gets the muscles and circulation going again and make you feel much better for the rest of the flight. Trans-Pacific pilots have told us taking a shower in Hawaii helps them recover more quickly from the general effects of jet stress after the flight.

Jet Ease

This is a vitamin supplement designed for jet travel, in the form of easy-to-take tablets. Being a vitamin supplement using naturally occuring substances, Jet Ease has few if any side effects and is compatible with other medications. It has no connection with the controversial hormone melatonin. Jet Ease is available throughout out Europe and is sold at outlets such as international airports, pharmacies and travel stores in Europe.


This is a controversial and complex treatment for jet stress. A full description of its effects is available from this link. Melatonin information.

Sleeping Pills

Some people use this to try to alleviate jet stress. This is a dangerous approach as a report in the Lancet in 1988 says "estimated that over three years at Heathrow Airport, 18% of the 61 sudden deaths in long distance passengers were caused by clots in the lungs." Sleeping pills induce a comatose state with little or no natural body movement. Imagine leg veins as bags of blood. When this blood doesn't circulate there is a possibility that it will clot.

Click below for information on:

Made by Miers Laboratories, Wellington, New Zealand.
Copyright © 1995-2010