Jet Lag Calculator
Switching Time Zones The Jet Lag Calculator
It isn’t always easy to recover when you’re switching time zones - the inability to sleep, fatigue and disorientation that comes with jet lag can put a serious dampener on your time away. Using your flight itinerary, you can now manage jet lag with this interactive calculator.
Enter your travel details below and find out how to get the most out of your trip.
Below is your personalized travel sleep plan. Follow the suggested sleep pattern and light exposure times to minimize the effects of jet lag.
- Flight / travel
- Sleep or dark conditions ideal (during/after flight)
- Aim to be in lighter environments
Scroll across to explore your sleep plan
In order to beat jet lag and establish a new sleep routine you first need to determine your phase change in hours, eg the difference in hours forward or back. Ideally, you should start shifting your sleep schedule two days before departure, moving your sleep period one or two steps towards your new sleep time each day.
When moving forward, after waking, try to stay in light conditions for at least three hours, and when moving back,
before sleep, try to stay in light conditions for three hours.
From the day of the flight (including during the flight), try to adjust your meal times to those of your new destination.
If convenient, starting to do this a few days beforehand too can help ease jet lag by adjusting your body clock.
Doing exercise during the period that your schedule recommends staying in light conditions can enhance circadian rhythm shift, reducing the symptoms of jet lag.
Frequently asked questions
- What is sleep shifting?
Sleep shifting is where you stagger your sleeping patterns ahead of visiting a country with a different time zone.
For example, if you’re visiting New York to Dubai, it has a nine hour time difference, so in order to not suffer from jet lag it’s recommended you start shifting your sleep two days before your flight. By shifting your sleep an hour back from your regular sleep time each day, over a nine day adjustment period, you should avoid jet lag.
- How can I stop myself feeling tired after landing in a different time zone?
It’s important to drink plenty of water prior to landing in a new time zone. When bodies are low on fluids they begin to feel fatigued and weaker than usual, therefore, water helps pump oxygen into bodily organs and makes you more energized.
If water doesn’t do the trick, try doing some exercise - a light jog, HIIT workout or a yoga session will wake up all of your muscles. It’s important you have a good balance between being active and getting plenty of rest though. Too much exercise could make you feel even more fatigued.
Try to get into the same routine as the natives of the country you have just arrived in - if they are having breakfast, but your body clock wants you to go to sleep, try and power through and eat some breakfast too. It’s important to get your body used to the new time zone as soon as possible.
- How many hours of sleep should I be getting a night?
It's recommended that adults get an average of seven to nine hours of sleep every night - it is possible to get by on fewer hours sleep, but in order to function optimally, you should aim to get as close to these hours as possible.
Many people with busy and hectic lifestyles may be getting by on six hours of sleep a night, and although they may feel like a productive and functioning human being, chronic sleep deprivation can easily sneak up on them. As time goes by, a consistent amount of sleep loss can result in health problems, such as, insomnia, narcolepsy or severe mood swings, therefore, it’s important to aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
- Are there any tips for sleeping on long haul flights?
If you’re on a flight for a long period of time, you’ll want to try and get some sleep. Some key tips include cutting down, or completely cutting out caffeine ahead of your flight - caffeine is renowned for keeping people awake, so aim to remove it from your diet 24-hours ahead of your flight time.
Airplanes are also quite typically cold:
The heat given off by passengers in a fully occupied cabin is considerable, therefore, incoming air needs to be at or below the required cabin temperature if that temperature is to be maintained.
With that said, a blanket and flight socks to keep you warm should help you fall asleep on a flight.
Above everything, if you have the chance to pick your seat for your flight, be sure to pick wisely. If you’re situated near the toilets, you’ll be constantly woken up, so try and find a prime window seat.
- Will skipping meals affect my jet lag?
If you have a long haul flight booked, you may be worrying about eating times and if it will affect your jet lag.
Usually, many flights will get you onto a new time zone and wake you up - or keep you awake - to provide food. For example, if you’re departing at 9 am but the destination you are traveling to is 10 hours ahead, they will look to give you your dinner swiftly after departure.
- If I cross more time zones, will my jet lag be worse?
The more time zones you cross, the worse your jet lag may be. Jet lag symptoms usually occur within a day or two of travel if you’ve crossed two time zones. Jet lag can be worse if you travel in an easterly direction and for every time zone crossed, it can take about a day to recover.
Crossing multiple time zones puts your internal clock or circadian rhythms out of sync - they regulate your sleep-wake cycle and if they are out of sync with your new time, you’ll struggle to sleep - or stay awake!
If you were to travel from New York on a flight at 4 pm on Tuesday and arrive in Paris at 7 am on Wednesday your internal sleep pattern and clock would think it is 1 am - this would mean that you’re ready for bed just as Paris is waking up for the day. So, if you then travel across another two time zones, your body clock will struggle to catch up even more so. You can find some more top tips below:
- Other top tips for avoiding jet lag
Split up your trip
If you’re planning on taking a long journey, for example, from the United States, over to Bali, think about splitting your flights up and look at having a stopover in Dubai or Singapore. Not only does this give your body the time to catch up and adapt to a new routine, but it can almost half the price of your airfare.
Set your watch to your new time zone
You need to get yourself psychologically aligned with the time at your new destination, so, as soon as you get onto your flight, set your watch backward or forwards.
Seek some sun
If you’re due to be awake once you’ve landed, but feel sleepy, it’s a good idea to seek out some sun - daylight makes you feel better.
Use an eye mask and earplugs during your flight
If you want to get into a new time zone but struggle to sleep on flights, why not invest in an eye mask and earplugs? They will help convince your body that it’s nighttime and you’re due some sleep.
The interactive jet lag calculator allows users to input their travel details and find out how to get the most of their trip by keeping jet lag at bay. It then generates a personalized sleep plan that - if followed correctly - should minimize the effects of jet lag.
Jet lag is a physiological condition that results from shifts in the circadian rhythms - it’s physically a result of crossing time zones, therefore it is inevitable that your body will be affected in some way - that is why this tool will help many people travelling across countries and time zones.