Stay Hydrated, Beat Jet Lag: The Importance of Water in Overcoming Time Zone Fatigue

Stay Hydrated, Beat Jet Lag: The Importance of Water in Overcoming Time Zone Fatigue

Stay Hydrated, Beat Jet Lag: The Importance of Water in Overcoming Time Zone Fatigue

Traveling across time zones often leads to jet lag, a temporary sleep disorder that occurs when your body’s internal clock is disrupted. Jet lag can cause fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, making your travel experience less enjoyable. While there are several remedies and preventive measures for jet lag, one often overlooked method is staying hydrated with water. In this article, we will explore the importance of water in overcoming time zone fatigue and how it can assist in reducing the impact of jet lag.

The Dehydrating Effects of Air Travel

Many people are unaware that air travel significantly dehydrates the body. The humidity levels inside an aircraft cabin are much lower than what our bodies are accustomed to, causing increased water loss through respiration and perspiration. Additionally, the circulating air in planes tends to be dry, further promoting dehydration. As a result, even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body may still be experiencing dehydration during a flight.

How Dehydration Contributes to Jet Lag

Dehydration exacerbates the symptoms of jet lag and prolongs the time it takes for your body to adjust to a new time zone. Here’s how:

  1. Disrupted Sleep: Dehydration can lead to dry nasal passages and throat, making it difficult to sleep comfortably during your flight or at your destination. Lack of quality sleep hinders the adjustment process and intensifies feelings of fatigue.
  2. Increased Fatigue: When dehydrated, your body has to work harder to perform its normal functions. This extra effort leads to increased fatigue, making it harder to combat jet lag symptoms.
  3. Impaired Mental Performance: Dehydration affects cognitive abilities, including concentration, memory, and decision-making skills. By staying hydrated, you can improve mental performance and reduce the negative impact of jet lag on your cognitive functions.
  4. Digestive Discomfort: Dehydration can disrupt your digestive system, resulting in constipation or stomach discomfort. When dealing with jet lag, the last thing you want is the added discomfort of digestive issues.

The Role of Water in Fighting Jet Lag

Drinking water before, during, and after your flight can significantly contribute to overcoming time zone fatigue and reducing the severity of jet lag symptoms. Here are some reasons why water is crucial:

  • Hydration: The primary benefit of water is its ability to hydrate your body. By maintaining proper hydration levels, you can alleviate the negative effects of air travel on your body, allowing it to adjust more effectively to a new time zone.
  • Reduced Fatigue: Staying hydrated helps combat fatigue, enabling you to feel more refreshed upon arrival. It also aids in regulating your body’s energy levels, making it easier to adapt to new sleep patterns in a different time zone.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Proper hydration enhances mental clarity, focus, and memory. By drinking enough water, you can ensure that your cognitive functions remain sharp and reduce the cognitive impairment caused by jet lag.
  • Enhanced Digestive Health: Water plays a vital role in maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. By staying hydrated, you support your digestive system, reducing the likelihood of experiencing discomfort during your travels.

Tips for Staying Hydrated During Air Travel

Now that you understand the importance of water in combating jet lag, here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water before your flight to ensure you start your journey adequately hydrated.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they contribute to dehydration.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout your journey.
  • Consider using a hydrating mist to moisturize your face and nasal passages during the flight.
  • Eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid salty and processed foods, as they can further dehydrate your body.
  • Monitor the color of your urine – it should be light yellow or clear, indicating proper hydration.


Q: How much water should I drink while traveling to combat jet lag?

A: It is recommended to drink at least 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of water for every hour of air travel.

Q: Can other beverages, such as juice or soda, replace water for hydration?

A: While other beverages can contribute to your overall hydration, water should be the primary source of fluids during air travel. Sugary drinks and caffeine can have diuretic effects, increasing fluid loss from the body.

Q: Are there any signs that indicate I am becoming dehydrated during my flight?

A: Some common signs of dehydration during air travel include dry mouth, thirst, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. Additionally, monitoring the color of your urine can provide a good indication of your hydration status.

Q: Does drinking water also help prevent jet lag on long-haul flights?

A: While water plays a significant role in combating jet lag, it is important to combine it with other strategies, such as adjusting your sleep schedule, exposing yourself to natural light, and staying active during the flight.

Q: Can I drink too much water during my flight?

A: While it is essential to stay hydrated, excessive water consumption can lead to water intoxication, which can be harmful. Listen to your body’s signals and drink water regularly, but avoid overdoing it.


By now, you should understand the crucial role water plays in overcoming time zone fatigue and reducing the impact of jet lag. Staying hydrated before, during, and after your flight is essential to combat the dehydrating effects of air travel and help your body adjust to a new time zone more efficiently. Remember to drink plenty of water, monitor your hydration levels, and combine it with other preventive measures for a more enjoyable and comfortable travel experience across different time zones.

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