Five Ways to Prevent Jet Lag When You’re Over 50

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
Woman over 50 wearing black maxi dress with coral cardigan and purse standing by suitcase and travel totes standing on driveway

Did you know that in your 50s, time zone adjustments get harder? It’s true! Not only that, but the quicker you ask your body to adjust (i.e., plane flight vs. car trip), the more difficult it can be! Today, I’m sharing expert tips for preventing jet lag and adjusting faster when you’re switching time zones.

I’m also sharing some of my favorite travel looks with you! When I travel, I like to be comfortable, but look pulled together and cute. (Because when I reach my destination, the cute part somehow becomes even more important to me! 😂)

As always, click the pink text links or any image for more information. Also, everything fits TTS, unless I tell you otherwise! 😀

Black Maxi Dress (30% off) | Similar Cardigan | Handbag (15% off) | Similar Pink Sandals | Travel Tote (Design your own HERE!) | Custom Laptop Case (Design your own HERE!) | Carry-On Suitcase

How to Prevent Jet Lag

Scientists who study circadian rhythms say it can take up to one day of adjustment for every hour the clock is shifted.

woman wearing sparkly disney tee and black pants standing by luggage

Glitter Rose Gold Minnie Shirt (Under $13 + your choice of color.) | Pink Long Sleeve Tee | Seamless Leggings (No seams to ride up in embarrassing places!) | Pink SneakersBlack Fleece Jacket | Custom Tote Bag (Design your own HERE!) | Custom Laptop Case (Design your own HERE!) | Similar Briggs & RileyLuggage

1. Consider a Red-Eye

If you’re flying east, you should strongly consider a red-eye flight. If you’re flying west, try to book a flight that will arrive in the evening, closer to bedtime.

2. Hydrate

The dry air on planes can cause dehydration! Drinking 8 ounces of water for every hour you fly can help to prevent jet lag.

3. Expose Yourself to Light When You Land

If you’re flying east, spend time outside in the morning. If you’ve traveled west, spend time outside in the afternoon. If you must nap, try to limit yourself to 30 minutes. When you first wake up, you’ll feel terrible, but the grogginess will soon dissipate. An under-30-minute “power nap” is refreshing because it terminates before deep sleep (slow-wave sleep; SWS) begins. (I take one of these every single day!)

woman over 50 sitting on suitcase wearing pink and white gingham button down and white girlfriend jeans next to luggage

Pink & White Gingham Button Down (50% off) | So-Slimming, No-Stain Girlfriend Style White Jeans (My faves for travel!) | Machine Washable White Sneakers | Pearl Stud Earrings | Travel Tote (Design your own HERE!) | Similar White Handbag | Similar Briggs & RileyLuggage

4. Consider Melatonin

Talk to your doctor about possibly using a melatonin supplement as needed for jet lag or jet lag prevention. (It can help if you find falling asleep on an airplane difficult.) Researchers from The Sleep Foundation found that, for older adults, as little as 0.5 milligrams can be effective and help with jet lag.

5. Alter Meal Times

Experts say to set your watch to your destination’s time as soon as you board the plane and eat your meals on local time. Don’t eat when the people at your destination would be sleeping.) This alters the rhythms of blood glucose, which seems to help prevent jet lag. 

woman over 50 sitting in the trunk of a car wearing faux leather leggings and lilly pulitzer black dress with travel tote and backpack on either side of her

Faux Leather Leggings | Black Tunic/Dress (I love the crochet cutouts on the sides of the sleeves!) | Machine Washable Black Wool Sneakers | CZ Stud Necklace | Tory Burch Logo Earrings | Similar Travel Tote | Custom Computer Case | Similar Black Backpack (Bob’s)

Apps That Can Help You Prevent Jet Lag

Timeshifter – This highly-recommended neuroscience-based app makes personalized recommendations to help you prevent jet lag. It considers your age, gender, regular sleep patterns, and specifics about your trip and travel plans. It suggests when to avoid or seek light, nap, or stay awake and even tells you if you should consider melatonin or caffeine. Your first jet-lag plan is free, and the second is $9.99, or you can enjoy unlimited plans for a year for $24.99. On the App Store HERE. On Google Play HERE.

Stop Jet Lag – If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, you might want to download this app first! It recommends the best flying times to help you avoid jet lag. If you have already purchased your ticket and you use the travel app TripIt, the Stop Jet Lag app will sync directly with it to pull your itinerary. From there, Stop Jet Lag provides personalized jet lag prevention advice, including when and when not to sleep, when to seek out light, when and what to eat (including the size of each meal!), when to exercise, when to drink caffeine, and more. It gives you a personalized, downloadable plan with everything you need to know, along with mobile alerts to remind you when to do what. Jet lag prevention plans cost $45 each. (This seems like a lot to me for this app, which has an interface that feels dated to me.) On the App Store HERE. On Google Play HERE.

Better Sleep – This white-noise app can help you sleep either during your flight or at your destination. It’s a sleep tracker featuring bedtime stories, meditations, breathing exercises, and physical and mental guided plans called “Sleep Moves.” Some of these were specifically created to overcome jet lag. Some of the sounds are free, and yearly premium plans with more sounds start at $59.99 per year. On the App Store HERE. On Google Play HERE.

Uplift – This app uses biorhythmic acupressure to help prevent jet lag. You start by putting in your trip itinerary (departure and arrival cities, dates, and times). The app will give you a few exercises to do upon landing, along with an instructional video. These acupressure exercises ask you to apply pressure to various spots on your body for a minute or so, which helps your body adjust naturally to the new time zone. The app comes with a 60-day free trial. After that, it’s $19.99 annually for unlimited exercises and unlimited trips. On the App Store HERE. On Google Play HERE.

travel look for woman over 50 standing by the open trunk of the car wearing navy and white gingham sweatshirt and white crop jeans with navy sneakers standing by luggage

Navy & White Gingham Sweatshirt (25% off right now) | So-Slimming, No-Stain Girlfriend Style White Jeans (My faves for travel!) | Machine Washable Navy Sneakers | Custom Tote Bag (Design your own HERE!) | Custom Laptop Case (Design your own HERE!) | Similar Briggs & RileyLuggage | CZ Stud Necklace | Tory Burch Logo Earrings

Tools That Can Help You Prevent Jet Lag

Jet Lag Rooster

This FREE calculator is an online tool that takes your travel dates and time zone data and configures an individual plan suggesting the best times for sleep and bright light exposure. Try it out HERE.

Sunrise Simulation Lamp

When it comes to preventing jet lag, a Sunrise Simulation Lamp could help you mimic daylight and nighttime. It gradually increases brightness over 30 minutes before your wake-up time to help you trick your circadian rhythm into thinking it’s morning.

Light Therapy Lamp

Light therapy lamps can also help alleviate symptoms of jet lag by resetting the body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. These lamps mimic natural sunlight and provide exposure to bright light, which can help regulate the body’s internal clock. Exposure to bright light in the morning can help reset the body’s circadian rhythm and promote wakefulness, while exposure to low light in the evening can signal the body to prepare for sleep.

By using a light therapy lamp upon waking in the morning, you can help your body adjust to the new time zone and combat fatigue and other symptoms of jet lag. (It’s important to use the light therapy lamp at the right time and for the right duration, as exposure to bright light at the wrong time can actually worsen symptoms of jet lag.)

According to my friend, fellow empty nester, best-selling author, and ENB subscriber Dr. Jill Grimes, it’s important to choose a light therapy lamp that is UV-free and that releases 10,000 LUX intensity. THIS is the one she recommends.

Portable White Noise Sound Machine

A white noise machine is so helpful in hotels! Bob and I both use THIS travel-size white noise machine to cancel out noise when we travel. This machine lets you choose from bright white noise, deep white noise (what I use), or surf. In addition, you can set your volume based on the ambient noise around you. (I turn mine way up when I’m in NYC!)

Bluetooth Sleep Eye Mask/Headphones

This super soft and comfy sleep eye mask blocks out light and has wireless Bluetooth headphones built right in. When I’m trying to sleep on planes, I connect the Bluetooth speaker to the FREE White Noise Lite app on my phone to help me drift off. FREE on the App Store HERE and Google Play HERE.

We’re traveling to Hawaii this summer, which is a four-hour time difference from Dallas! Compared to Europe, it sounds like no big deal, but somehow it feels huge when you’re dealing with it! Believe me, Bob and I will use all of these tricks!

woman over 50 wearing black amazon jumpsuit and black sneakers standing by luggage

Black Knit Jumpsuit | Similar Black Platform Sneakers | Pearl Initial Pendant Necklace | Crystal Open Frame Pendant | Abbie Strand Necklace | Black & Gold Drop Earrings | Similar Travel Tote | Custom Computer Case | UV Sanitizing Water Bottle | Similar Briggs & RileyLuggage |

Are you traveling this summer? Where are you heading? What’s your plan to deal with jet lag? I’d love to know your tips, so please share them in the comments!

One of my favorite things about the empty nest is having the opportunity to travel more! I’ve shared a lot about travel here. If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out some of these:

If you enjoyed this post, you may have a friend that would enjoy it too! In fact, sharing it with others on social media is one of the nicest things you could do to support me! Would you consider sharing it with others? Tap the icons at the bottom of the page where you see “Share This Post.” (You can also Pin the image below on your Pinterest page!)

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  1. Thank you for all the valuable travel tips, Suzy! I just read about your mother-daughter NY trip and it looked amazing. You both look way too pretty and fashionable to be travelers as I would think you’re both local NY fashionista’s if I passed you in Times Square. I always forget to pack half my clothes and makeup, haha! I’m using your post as a checklist from now on as I’d be happy to look half as good when I travel. Thanks for another great post!

    1. Helena,

      You are so funny! I can’t wait to tell Becca what you said. We had such a fun time, and it didn’t feel like 48 hours, for sure! I always use a packing list so I don’t forget anything. I need to do a blog post on that! (Here’s the one I use:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Helena!


  2. Suzy! Our son and daughter in law are expecting a baby in August…and they live in Adelaide, Australia!!!! We haven’t been to visit them yet….but now…with a new baby…we HAVE
    TO! I’m telling you what, we are DREADING the jet lag! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Kellie,

      Oh, my! That is such exciting news! Congratulations!!!! I cannot imagine the jet lag to Australia! I can’t wait to hear how you dealt with it, because I know you will do everything you can to combat it! You don’t want to miss a minute of that special time!

      Rejoicing with you!!!


    2. Hi!
      Just completed a “bucket list” trip to Australia/New Zealand with friends. Flight was about 30 hours from US east coast to Sydney. (Return home only 22+🤣) It was a beast of a flight but doable and you have a grandchild waiting to greet you! My advice: stay hydrated, sleep/rest eyes when the plane is darkened to simulate night, get up periodically to move, stretch, distract yourself watching all the movies and shows, and book the roomiest seat/ticket class you can afford. Once you arrive try to follow Aussie time and stay up if it’s day or sleep if it’s night. The trip is worth the jet lag. Enjoy!!
      Suzy, love your great tips for future flights and of course your cute attire! 😊

      1. Pat,

        That sounds like an amazing trip! Thanks so much for sharing and giving us such great tips! Love it, and you’re so right – a great trip is worth the jet lag!


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