Hop a plane across several time zones, and you may end up with what scientists call circadian dysrhythmia (aka jet lag). But fret not: “If you plan for it, you can do most of your acclimatizing to your destination a few days in advance,” says W. Chris Winter, a Virginia neurologist and author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It.
Blocking out light is key to getting shut-eye on the plane (a proven jet-lag antidote on overnight flights). If your destination is several hours ahead, wear sunglasses until you’re ready to snooze, then strap on a sleeping mask. When your brain senses darkness, it starts to produce melatonin, the chemical that initiates sleep. Use whatever tools you can to make your trip comfortable and silent. Instead of a traditional C-shape pillow, test out NapAnywhere, a flat disc that bends into a sturdy neck support. Add noise-canceling headphones or foam ear plugs to set the stage for slumber.
Try to book a flight that lands in the daytime, since getting out into sunlight helps reset your body clock. “It jump starts you much more quickly,” says Luxembourg-based sleep coach Christine Hansen.