How to Beat Jet Lag: Genius Strategies from 12 Top CEO’s

After a recent trip to Europe, I decided to compile the best jet lag hacks from some of the worlds top CEO’s. Some of these strategies were quite genius. Here are the top jet lag hacks so you don’t have to waste your time researching the web before your next trip. 


Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

"I have found that the best way to deal with jet lag is to simply live in the moment. Try not to worry too much about being in a different time zone."

"Most people enjoy a glass of something bubbly while they are on a flight, and I'm no exception. However, make sure that you are ready to get down to business the moment you land by drinking enough water while en route."


Melissa Biggs Bradley, Founder, Indagare.

"To help avoid jet lag I eat nothing on flights. Basically, at super high altitude, your digestive system shuts down completely. Someone said to me it’s like being under anesthesia. So when you get off the plane, everything restarts and [your digestive system] has so much more work to do and so it makes you more tired."

"Most people overeat because it’s a diversion, or a way to pass the time; but even the best plane food is over-salted and preserved so it can be microwaved. So I have something to eat a couple hours before getting on the plane, but otherwise it’s nothing but lots and lots of water."


Abigail Tan-Giroud, Head of St Giles Hotels UK, Europe and North America

"Drink plenty of water – hydration is key for the body to function optimally when traveling, to avoid fatigue, jet lag, and to maintain a good metabolism."

"When you get on the plane, think in the time zone of the place you are going to, i.e. if it’s sleep time at your destination, try to sleep!"

"Don’t oversleep even though it may be tempting sometimes. Wake up at the right time even though you’re exhausted and have only had 5 hours sleep."


Louis Altman, CEO, GlobaFone

"Almost everywhere I go I will exercise as soon as I arrive. Not the normal powerlifting I do, but a decent workout to get the metabolism running back to speed and minimize the effects of jet lag. Travel for me has never been an excuse to skip the gym. In fact, I once did a workout on the roof deck of the Virgin Clubhouse in London, using my suitcase as a weight."


Amit Kleinberger, CEO, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

"Stay well-rested in the days before the trip, drink lots of water, and avoid caffeine and alcohol."


Greg Geronemus, Co-CEO, smarTours

"Try deep breathing exercises. Air travel is associated with a drop in blood oxygen levels due to low cabin pressure. This can definitely leave you feeling out of it. Try deep breathing exercises to bring you back to center and help fight jet lag."


Peter Elbers, CEO, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

"Beating jet lag for me is an early morning run. So, wherever I go, I wake up early, I do my run, and that's, for me, the way to beat the jet lag."


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Khajak Keledjian, Founder, INSCAPE

"Jet lag can be debilitating. If you only have a short time in a new place, why lose a day sleeping it off. I use a sleep plan that starts a few days before my departure. I take the time difference, cut it in half, and each night I go to bed incrementally earlier so that I’m closer to the time zone to where I’m headed."


Richard Moross, CEO, MOO

"I always start adjusting to the timezone I'm traveling to a day in advance, moving mealtimes and bedtime accordingly. When you eat can dramatically affect your body's transition to a new time zone."

Richard also uses Melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid, to combat jet lag. It "helps reset your circadian rhythm and gets you on local time quicker," he explains.


John Thompson, Microsoft Chairmain and Virtual Instruments CEO

"Live on local time. The key to jet lag is to sleep on the plane before you arrive. I get on the plane, I take two Excedrin PM, and I go to sleep. I wake up and it’s typically 10:30, 11 o'clock in the morning in London, and I work all day. You don’t take a nap, you take a shower, you go to work and you work all day, and you run your body on local time.”


Phil Shawe, Co-CEO, TransPerfect

"One jet lag trick I learned from extensive trial and error is to adjust to the local time zone before departing."

"Limit alcohol and stay ahead of dehydration. It's fairly well-documented that air travel dehydrates you and this contributes, at least somewhat, to jet lag."

"If you show up somewhere, and it's light, but it's dark in the time zone of your origin – or you are just super tired – try to tough it out and go for a walk (or a run depending on your appetite for working out)."

"Melatonin is an over-the-counter natural supplement that, taken at bedtime, may help get you to sleep on a more normal schedule while traveling. Melatonin is thought of as non-addictive, very safe, and perhaps worth a try (always good to ask your doctor first)."


Brian de Haaff, Co-Founder and CEO, Aha!

"Depending on what direction you are traveling, you need to quickly adjust to your new locale. Change your watch to the local time and go to sleep when the locals do."

"Be aware that too much alcohol or caffeine can disrupt your sleep patterns."

"Exercise brings a boost of endorphins that can help you power through the rest of your day. If you can, sneak in a morning walk to get some natural light, which will help your body adjust to the time difference and minimize jet lag."

"Try simply not eating 12 to 16 hours before breakfast in the time zone where you will land. Researchers believe this short-term fast may reset your "master clock" and trigger your circadian clock to get in sync with the new time zone."

"Staying busy throughout the day will help you fall asleep at a "normal time" when the day is over."



Have a great jet lag cure? Share your advice in the comments below.