Jet Lag Gadgets & Gizmos: How I Calmed My Transcontinental Jet Lag Anxiety Thanks to Amazon & The App Store

If you've ever flown across multiple timezones, you've likely encountered the dreaded multi-day jet lag phenomena that can take weeks to resolve. Thankfully, the App Store and Amazon hold the answers to our very 21st Century problem.

I recently completed a 40 hour(!) trip from Newark to Bali and I wanted to share some of the jet lag hacks that I used along the way.

The topic of jet lag hits VERY close to home for me and it is one of the things that has led me to work with people to optimize their sleep. My boyfriend and I started traveling in May of 2017 and I got colossally f*&ked up by jet lag (and stress, poor work/life balance, etc, but that is for a different email!).

In prep for this trip, we handled things MUCH differently and I’m happy to say that the results far exceeded my expectations!

Here’s what helped:

Timeshifter - THIS app is everything. It asks you a series of questions about your flight itinerary and accounts for your unique bedtime/wake time. It then spits out a detailed play-by-play of exactly how to adjust your behavior & environment. Example: We left last Wednesday, so our Timeshifter protocol had us shifting forward our circadian rhythm on the Sunday (3 nights in advance of our trip!). Here’s what the app had us adjust before, during, and after the trip:

  • Sleep/wake times = a gradual advance, in this case (note: this was a west to east trip which are notoriously tougher on the body).
  • Light exposure = daily timing, gradient, and duration.
  • Meal timing = food is another time-giver to the body. Once on the plane, I began to eat at the times that I'd be eating at my destination.
  • Caffeine timing = provides the same timing signal as light & food and additionally helps block adenosine (the chemical that builds up in our bodies during the day and pushes our body towards sleep) to keep you awake longer. *Caffeine when flying is optional and should be used in moderation due to the altitude, dehydration, and radiation that comes with flying. I use this one, Mushroom Coffee or Matcha, which comes in little packets (great for flying!) has minimal caffeine (50mg and under) and contains adaptogens like cordyceps (boosts aerobic capacity which on an oxygen-deficient environment like a plane is paramount!).
  • Melatonin (& magnesium) Timing = This app suggests that you utilize synthetic melatonin (in most cases, it should only be used when dealing with jet lag or extreme stress as it is a hormone replacement). I also include magnesium glycinate in that stack. These are the brands that I used on this trip: Onnit Melatonin Spray & Magnesium Glycinate.
  • Here is a shot of what the app looked like for me on this trip (see below).

Oura Ring - This wearable is specifically for tracking sleep (it is a ring!) and was invaluable in my efforts to return my body to a state of homeostasis. It provides me with a detailed account of not only when I slept and my sleep stages (REM, Deep Sleep, Light Sleep, etc) but also, overall health markers such as body temperature, respiratory rate, HRV, and resting heart rate. Here is a shot of what the app looked like for me today now that we have adjusted to the new time zone (see below).


Blue-Blocking Glasses, Hats, and 3D Contoured Eye Masks - I brought 2 cheapie blue-blockers glasses (under $20 bucks on amazon), hats, and 3D-contoured eye masks to utilize when aiming to block light and “act as if” I was on my destination's time zone.

With all of this witchcraft, (along with a bevy of essential oils and cheap Bali massages upon landing!!) we have adjusted better than any other international flight to date!

Please send over any jet lag tips and/or any of your latest obsessions!

Additional Resources:

  1. If you wanna check out a cool book on the topic, Farewell Jet Lag was written by a flight attendant of 18+ years and provides an interesting real-world take on the situation.
  2. Regarding light-optimization, two gadgets that I will be investing in down the road are these nifty light emitting earbuds and the Lys Wearable, which measures the amount of light that you are logging per day. See screenshot below of the app:



-Mollie

***If you wanna check out a cool book on the topic, Farewell Jet Lag was written by a flight attendant of 18+ years and provides an interesting real-world take on the situation.