Quelling jet lag

By David Selley
This item appears on page 47 of the April 2018 issue.

Here are some ideas I’ve used for avoiding jet lag.

• Beware of long eastbound flights, especially overnight flights. They are the worst.

• If you can afford it, fly business class to be better rested.

• For eastbound transatlantic travel, I always check out the Queen Mary 2 to see if it fits our schedule. If you take an inside cabin, the fare is only a little more than economy air (and a lot less than business). You miss the jet lag and get seven nights’ accommodation, food and entertainment thrown in. 

Failing that, there are a few day flights from some airports, which help. You arrive in Europe at around 9 p.m., can go to bed around midnight, and the next morning you are ready for the day.

• Always try to avoid flying overnight so that you don’t lose a night’s sleep to add to the jet lag. (I cannot sleep on planes in economy.) For example, from Toronto to Johannesburg, we took three day flights — Toronto-Heathrow-Dubai-Johannesburg. (We weren’t able to do that coming back, however.)

• On a very long flight, break up the journey with an overnight at an airport hotel (or an even longer stay) along the way. Examples of long flights would be Singapore-Tokyo-Vancouver-Toronto, with overnights in Tokyo and Vancouver, and Sydney-Fiji (or Tahiti)-Los Angeles–Toronto, with an overnight in either Fiji or Tahiti and in Los Angeles. 

(Actually, two or three days in Fiji or Tahiti is even better, but you have to choose one or the other; airline schedules make stopping over in both virtually impossible.)

• For an early-morning flight, stay at an airport hotel the previous night, if possible.

• Keep the window blinds open so your brain actually experiences real daylight time. (I like to look out the window anyway, even if there is nothing to see.)

Unfortunately, most Americans (unless they are retired) are allowed such meagre vacations that they are unable to take advantage of some of these options.


Toronto, ON, Canada