9 Tips How To Avoid Jet Lag Flying To Japan

How To Avoid Jet Lag Flying To Japan

When flying to Japan, the time difference is significant and cause jet lag that sets your trip back. With up to 70% of long haul travelers experiencing jet lag, it is essential to prepare well in advance and make necessary adjustments.¹⁶ As a company that works in the travel industry, in this article we will provide you with everything essential for you to know about Japan jet lag and our nine top tips on how to avoid jet lag when flying to Japan.

What Causes Japan Jet Lag?

Jet lag is a condition that occurs generally when your body's internal clock is disrupted by traveling across different time zones, but there's even more factors. It can result in a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, irritability, gastrointestinal problems, and reduced cognitive function.

The severity and duration of jet lag depend on several factors. Here's the top 5 causes of Japan jet lag:

1. Crossing Time Zones
Crossing time zones is one of the primary causes of jet lag. Our body is accustomed to a particular sleep-wake cycle based on the time of day in our current location. However, when we travel across multiple time zones, our body clock gets disrupted as we enter a new time zone where the local time is different from what our body is used to. For example, flying form the US to Japan crosses 14-17 time zones.

2. Cabin Oxygen Pressure
The cabin oxygen pressure in airplanes can also contribute to jet lag just like altitude sickness with symptoms of headache and fatigue.² The air pressure inside an airplane cabin is typically set between 5,000 - 9,000 feet,³ lower than the pressure at sea level, which can cause a decrease in oxygen levels in our body called hypoxia.

3. Dry Air
Dry air is shown to be a problem inside the airplane cabins.⁴ The humidity levels in the cabin are typically much lower than what our bodies are used to, which can lead to increased fluid loss and dehydration.

4. Natural Sunlight Disruption
Sunlight disruption can also contribute to jet lag by not getting a proper amount of natural sunlight outside. Our body's circadian rhythm and melatonin production is closely linked to the natural light-dark cycle,⁵ and between flying on an airplane and passing time zones, our exposure to natural sunlight is limited.

5. Lack Of Exercise
You're sitting still for many hours on an airplane to Japan with no exercise, which leads to issues that could exacerbate jet lag. Even moderate amounts of exercise can help melatonin production, sleep, stress, and energy levels.⁸ ⁹

The compound effect of these factors contribute what we call jet lag, and can take days off your trip if you're not careful or well prepared.

How Bad Is Jet Lag From US To Japan?

Jag lag can be really bad going to Japan with approximately 11-15 hours of flight time and crossing 14-17 time zones.¹⁰ And that's if you're on a non-stop flight

Japan is one of the longest flights from the US, up there with Singapore and Australia. This can cause sleeping issues, extreme fatigue, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, feeling ill, and mood swings.

How Long Does Jet Lag Last From US To Japan?

On average they say it take one day of recovery for every 1-2 time zones you cross. With crossing up to 17 time zones from the US, Japlanease advices that it can take about a week to fully adjust.¹¹ However, being a wesdword trip it should be a bit easier, the first few days being the worse, then gradually gettin easier.

This is why it's important to read our tips below on how to beat jet lag to Japan.

How Long Does Jet Lag Last From Japan To USA?

Sources say it's about a week to recover from jet lag coming back to the US from Japan. However, going eastword is more difficult in terms of jet lag and you could feel symptoms longer and more intense compared to flying US to Japan.

Do You Gain Or Lose Time Flying To Japan?

You will lose time when flying to Japan from the US, as an eastern headed flight up to 17 hours.

Do You Lose A Day Flying To Japan?

Yes, you will lose a day flying to Japan from the US. For example, if you leave by airplane in the morning on your first day, you will arrive in Japan or Tokyo at evening time on the second day.¹³

Is Jet Lag Worse Going To Japan Or Coming Back?

Jet lag is worse when you're flying eastward versus westword. This is due to your body clock (circadian rhythm) being less disorientated going west than east as it extends the day and night. Going east shortens the day.
Therefore, coming back to the US from Japan is worse as you're flying eastword. Going to Japan is easier as it's going westword.¹⁴


9 Tips How To Avoid Jet Lag Flying To Japan

Japan can be a trip of a lifetime, or a typical business route — but with up to 70% of long distance flyers experiencing jet lag, it's a trip that's vital for you to prepare for.
Our company Zaca has been doing business in the travel industry for over 10 years. We'll share with you all the best researched and essential tips on avoiding jet lag to Japan.
Here's 9 tips how to avoid jet lag flying to Japan:

1. Stay Hydrated

The air on an plane is shown to be dry, cool, and recirculated — which can lead to increased water loss and dehydration.⁴
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and during your Japan flight. Experts commonly recommend drinking half your weight in ounces of water each day.
TIP: Add sea salt to your foods or water for natural electrolytes including sodium. Take Zaca hydration chewable tablets to enhance water absorption.

2. Adjust Your Schedule Before Flying

Although it takes about a day to adjust to each hour of time change, you can cut this back by adjusting your schedule before flight according to the CDC. A week or two prior to takeoff, start adjusting your sleeping and eating times. Each day you can gradually increase the change.

  • Flying west to Japan, gradually get to bed 30-60 minutes later each night
  • Flying east leaving Japan, gradually get to bed 30-60 minutes earlier each night

If you do this each night, you could get between 1-5 hours of time changes to closer align to Japan's time before you arrive. This would lessen your time change adjustment and jet lag.

3. Fast During Flight

Harvard states that fasting can reset your circadian clock to lessen jet lag.¹⁹ A 12-16 hour fasting window during travel is suggested by Dr Saper, which can suspend your body’s circadian rhythms to conserve energy.¹⁹
With 11-15 hours of average flight time to Japan, this can be accomplished by eating no food just before your flight and during the whole journey. Water, coffee, and tea are okay to drink, and then a meal upon arrival to Japan.

4. Switch to Japan Time on the Plane

Switching to Japan time on the plane can be an effective strategy to reduce the impact of jet lag. This involves adjusting your sleep and awake schedule on the plane to match the local time of Tokyo Japan.
By the time you arrived to Japan, you'll already have cut off some of the adjustment time of jet lag. Additionally, it is recommended to gradually adjust your sleep schedule a week before your trip as pointed out on tip #2 to make the transition smoother.

5. Take Antioxidants

It was found in a study that jet lag decreased glutathione, which is your body's master antioxidant.²⁰ With the combination of lower cabin pressure and oxygen levels in a plane, oxidative stress can be a problem.
Take antioxidants or jet lag supplements, especially glutathione, to increase your levels of antioxidants and battle free radical damage from traveling.

6. Get Natural Sunlight

The lack of natural sunlight while flying is detrimental to your circadian rhythm. Get plenty of natural sunlight during the day when you arrive in Japan.
Exposure to sunlight helps regulate our circadian rhythm and can help reset our internal clock to the local time of your destination in Japan. This can help signal to our body that it is daytime and help reset our sleep-wake cycle.

7. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol can cause dehydration, decreased sleep quality, and lower blood oxygen saturation — which all can work against recovering from jet lag.²¹ Even worse, alcohol on the airplane makes it harder for you body to battle the physiological stress.
While moderate amounts of caffeine is not bad in general, caffeine can disrupt your sleeping cycles, especially if you're sensitive to it. Caffeine can be good in the mornings after arrival, but you should avoid it prior to that.

8. Arrive Early

The first few days of jet lag are the worst. If possible, try to arrive in Japan a day or two before your scheduled activities to allow your body time to adjust to the new time zone. This can help you get acclimated to the new environment, establish a regular sleep schedule, and reduce the overall impact of jet lag.
Additionally, it is important to avoid overbooking your schedule in the first few days after arrival, which allows yourself time to rest, adjust, and recover.

9. Exercise Daily

Exercise or physical activity can help energy levels, increase blood flow, and reduce stress levels, all of which can contribute to better sleep and may reduce the severity of jet lag.²²
In fact, a study at Elon University showed moderate exercise to increase melatonin production.²³ Hiking, running, workouts, or even walking can all be good for you body.
In summary, these top tips teach you how to avoid jet lag when flying to Japan — which include staying hydrated, adjusting your schedule before flying, fasting during flight, switching to Japan time on the plane, taking antioxidants, getting natural sunlight, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, arriving early, exercising daily.

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1. Avoid Jet Lag Japan
2. Jet Lag Disorder
3. Can You Get Altitude Sickness from Flying?
4. Up in the Air: Evidence of Dehydration Risk and Long-Haul Flight on Athletic Performance
5. How Sun Exposure Affects Sleep and Melatonin Production
6. Sleep, sunshine & vitamin D
7. The Benefits of Exercise while Traveling
8. The Benefits of Exercise while Traveling
9. Influence of Aerobic Exercise on Sleep and Salivary Melatonin in Men
10. What is The Average Flight Time to Tokyo From The USA?
11. Jetlag Japan Trip
12. Jet Lag From Japan To USA
13. Visiting Tokyo and Japan
14. Jet Lag From Japan To USA
15. Jet Lag Returning From Japan
16. Jet Lag Travelers
17. Jet lag: What It Is And How To Beat It
18. Jet Lag - CDC
19. Resetting Your Circadian Clock To Minimize Jet Lag
20. Circadian Disruption Reveals a Correlation of an Oxidative GSH/GSSG Jet Lag
21. Effects of Alcohol
22. The Benefits of Exercise while Traveling
23. Influence of Aerobic Exercise on Sleep and Salivary Melatonin in Men