The battle begins before you even set foot in the airport. You can do a number of things to prepare in the days leading up to take-off, including:
Sleep well: Get plenty of sleep in the nights leading up to your big trip--it may be the single best thing you could do. Of course, jet lag is not simply a lack of sleep; it is the desire to sleep at the wrong time. But if you are well-rested, you will suffer less from fatigue and exhaustion when these symptoms hit. In addition, you'll have extra energy if you need to stay uplate in order to adapt to the new time.
Plan meals and bedtime: If possible, plan meals and bedtime as if you were already in the new time zone. Yes, that probably means going to bed when you're not sleepy, or getting up before it feels right to do so. But even if you can only adjust your schedule by an hour or two, you may in turn shrink your jet lag by a day or two.
Some die-hard travelers swear by the Argonne National Laboratory Anti-Jet Lag Diet, which consists of a three-day regime of feasting and fasting. Developed by U.S. government researcher Dr. Charles F. Ehret, the diet is said to work because high protein breakfasts and lunches stimulate the body's active cycle while a high carbohydrate dinner stimulates sleep. By fasting, you deplete the liver's store of carbohydrates and, according to scientists, prepare the body's clock for resetting. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this diet can be quite effective, but research remains to be done. Here's the breakdown:
Day One: Feast. High-protein breakfast and lunch (lots of eggs, cheese or meat), followed high-carbohydrate dinner (consisting mostly of bread, rice, fruits and vegetables, and pasta).
Day Two: Fast (three light meals totaling less than 800 calories).
Day Three: Feast (same as Day One).
Day of Departure: Fast. Break your fast with a high-protein breakfast at the first normal breakfast time in your destination.
Set your watch to the new time zone: As you board the plane (or even earlier if practical), set your watch to the new time zone. It sounds too simple to be true, but in fact, experts say this can give you a very real head start on the recovery process. Why? Because it'll encourage you to make decisions about eating and sleeping that are in line with the new time zone before you even arrive.
Avoid stress: Try to arrive at the airport relaxed. This will allow you to make wiser decisions about eating sleeping and drinking, and will be especially helpful if you need to sleep on the flight.
Abstain from alcohol the night before: A hangover not only closely resembles jet lag, it can compounds its effects. Like jet lag, alcohol can also upset the body's natural circadian rhythms (your sleep patterns).