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Beat Jet Lag: The Best Sleep Aids for Flying

Candace Osmond
RankProductsHighlights
#1

NoctuRest

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  • Sleep Ingredient: Magnesium, Melatonin, and Theanine
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 48 servings
#2

Physician’s Choice

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  • Sleep Ingredient: Suntheanine L-Theanine, Melatonin, P5P, Chamomile, valerian root
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 60 capsules
#3

Genius Sleep AID

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  • Sleep Ingredient: Melatonin, l theanine, glycine, and inositol
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 40 capsules
#4

Integrative Therapeutics

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  • Sleep Ingredient: Phosphatidylserine, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, Magnolia, and Epimedium
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 30 tablets
#5LUNA Sleeping Pills

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  • Sleep Ingredient: Melatonin, GABA, l Theanine, Valerian Root, and Chamomile
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 60 capsules
#6
Hyland’s Baby Calming Tablets
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• Sleep Ingredient(s): chamomilla, Coffea cruda, lycopodium

• Kid Safe: yes

• Bottle Amount: 125 tablets

If you love to travel, are regularly catching a plane for business, or even just fly every so often- then you probably have experienced a touch of jet lag. Even a quick jaunt across a few time zones can create havoc with your schedule, and if you don’t address it, you can end up struggling to rest, feeling run down, or even battling insomnia.

Luckily, with some advanced planning and an understanding of your own sleeping and waking cycle, you can help offset the worst of your discomfort and get back to feeling refreshed and energized after flying. The best sleep aids for flying avoid making you feel groggy or in fog and can be taken to help set your schedule back on track.

What is Jet Lag?

A jet lag is a temporary disorder that is characterized by a feeling of fatigue, a struggle to fall asleep, problems focusing, a general feeling of being unwell, and can even cause some gastrointestinal problems. It is brought on by the quick travel across time zones, hence the name jet lag. But it also can be caused by a forced change in your regular routine that is sudden, rather than gradual.

As it is, it is estimated that 1 in 3 adults are already not getting enough sleep and 164 million Americans often struggle with some degree of insomnia. Occasionally, those types of problems can be solved through attention to physical comfort through the use of a new mattress or a more supportive pillow. But jet lag has less to do with comfort, and more to do with the physiological effects of getting out of a natural rhythm.

What Jet Lag Creates

As mentioned above, the results of jet lag a be quite uncomfortable, but it is usually short-lived and resolves itself within a few days. But if you are still struggling after a few days, cross more than just a few hours worth of time zones, or are regularly traveling- you may begin to suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder.

Your circadian rhythm helps your body recognize when it’s time to sleep, wake up, and even eat or go about doing other self-care routines. This rhythm is what your body adapts to through your own habits, as well as the recognition of daylight and dark to release certain hormones that help you sleep. Most changes to this are gradual, but when you change time zones, or severely impact your regular schedule, it takes time to reset this. And occasionally time is exactly what you do not have – especially if you want to enjoy a vacation or be alert during a business meeting.

A lack of rest can begin to stress the system, create anxiety, and lead to insomnia in severe cases. This can bring on depression, and a general feeling of unhealthiness both mentally and physically.

How Can a Sleep Aid Help With Jet Lag?

Whether you are going to deal with only a few hours worth of schedule changes, or many, introducing a sleep aid on the occasion you need to help reset your sleep cycle can help keep you from being fatigued. Of course, not all sleep aids work the same, and may not provide the same results from one person to the next. You should always use as directed, and if you are on any medications, or are unsure of sleep aid use, you should always discuss your options with a doctor.

Types of Sleep Aids

Not all sleep aides work the same, and taking a sleep aid while flying is probably not always your best option unless you know you can get a good 7 to 9 hours of sleep as many are meant to provide a lasting rest. When you are unable to sleep off the effects of a sleep aid you can be confused, groggy, distracted, or unable to function or think clearly. This can be dangerous, so you should always take sleep aids when you know you can get the rest you need to rest your schedule.

When you are trying to avoid jet lag or simply need to influence your circadian rhythm, you are looking more for an aid to help you fall asleep at a time that may not feel natural. Sleep aids are not made for long-term use either, making them ideal for helping you get yourself back on a schedule.

— Prescribed

Prescribed sleep aids are powerful options that are only available under doctors care and monitoring. These can be habit forming and are generally only for long-term, chronic sleep conditions that have not been resolved through more conventional means.

— Over the Counter

Over the Counter (OTC) choices are available for consumer use and have a wide variety of choices made from both synthetic and natural ingredients. They also should be taken with care as side effects can occur, as well as habit formation and taking them as needed, rather than depended upon is always suggested.

What to Consider When Choosing a Sleep Aid for Jet Lag

Choosing a sleep aid should always be approached with care, but when specifically chosen for flying purposes thought should be put into the specific needs you have. Resetting your sleep cycle and influencing a new circadian rhythm requires getting to sleep at a time that may not be normal for you. Sleep aids are designed to help get you to sleep soon after taking them and allow you to rest, uninterrupted, for a full night.

If you are considering taking a sleep aid while actually in the air, you need to consider the amount of time you need to rest as waking up may be difficult after taking an aid. Many people also discover that they need to adjust the amount taken to avoid being groggy through the day even after waking and that many synthetic options are more likely to have these side effects. If you have little to no experience with sleep aids, you may want to avoid them without first knowing how they affect you.

The 5 Best Sleep Aids for Flying

According to consumers, the best sleep aids used for flying are those made with more natural ingredients rather than synthetics to avoid a worn down, hungover feeling.

#1. NoctuRest – Fast, Advanced Sleep Supplement

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient: Magnesium, Melatonin, and Theanine
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 48 servings

NoctuRest is an advanced sleep supplement that comes in liquid form for fast absorption to get you to sleep up to 2 times faster than other pill and tablet options. Made from all natural ingredients, such as melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone, magnesium, and theanine- as well as herbs proven to address relaxation- this aid is gentle both on your body as well as your mind to keep you alert and focused after awakening.

ProsCons
  • Can get to sleep within 20 minutes
  • Will wake refreshed and no longer tired
  • Easy to take and effective
  • Melatonin can cause restlessness in some people
  • May have to take up to 3 doses to get it to work

Who Should Purchase this Product

If you need to drop off to sleep quickly, this is an excellent choice due to how quickly it absorbs and gets to work. It also is considered non-habit forming and doesn’t leave you feeling groggy.

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#2. Physician’s Choice natREM 100% Natural Sleep Aid with Valerian Root

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient: Suntheanine L-Theanine, Melatonin, P5P, Chamomile, valerian root
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 60 capsules

NatREM, made by Physician’s Choice, is made from a combination of natural ingredients to help you drift off to sleep. L-theanine, Melatonin, Valerian Root Powder, Chamomile and P5P, an active form of Vitamin B6, are active ingredients to promote feelings of peacefulness and relaxation to help influence rest. The natural ingredients also do not leave you feeling groggy and allow you to wake through the night without being overly tired. It also uses a vegetable capsule to create a vegan, gluten-free option.

ProsCons
  • Even half a dose may help you drift off to sleep (one dose is 2 pills)
  • Non-drowsy feeling and easy to wake
  • Easy on stomach
  • May require consistent use to see results
  • Melatonin can cause restlessness in some people

Who Should Purchase this Product

This vegan option is exactly what many people look for to fit their lifestyle and health choices. Made to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, this is a good choice worth considering for those who want to get a good night’s sleep without grogginess.

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#3. Genius Sleep AID – Smart Sleeping Pills & Adrenal Fatigue Supplement

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient: Melatonin, l theanine, glycine, and inositol
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 40 capsules

The all natural ingredients of Genius Sleep AID uses only a small amount of melatonin rather than depending on it as a major ingredient, and adrenal support in the shape of l theanine, glycine, and inositol supplements to alleviate stress and anxiety. It also supports mood to keep from shifts in behavior through the day, and provides a feeling of wakefulness without any jittery feeling caffeine can create. Made with a vegetable capsule, this is also a gluten-free and vegan-friendly option.

ProsCons
  • Works well to reset sleep schedule
  • Provide all day awareness with no grogginess
  • Allows you to wake if needed
  • Dosage (2 capsules) may not be enough
  • Ingredients may not work well with everyone and cause restlessness

Who Should Purchase this Product

If you are looking to help relax each evening and feel reinvigorated through the day, this is a sleep aid choice you may want to consider. Plus, as an all natural capsule, it can be used by anyone looking for an effective sleep aid.

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You may want to read: The Best Sleep Aid Non-Habit-Forming

#4. Integrative Therapeutics – Sleep, Stress, and Cortisol Support Supplement

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient: Phosphatidylserine, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, Magnolia, and Epimedium
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 30 tablets

Integrative Therapeutics offers a sleep and stress cortisol support aid that provides the ability to relax, as well as the ability to alleviate fatigue. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and stressors upon your body can knock these levels out of control, making them higher in the evening, which can disrupt sleep. This aid helps manage this to provide a feeling of relaxation and keeps you from feeling worn down once awake. It also does not use melatonin, which can occasionally cause a feeling of restlessness in some people.

ProsCons
  • Allows you to sleep through the night
  • Will not wake anxious
  • Helps lower cortisol that peaks in the evening
  • Proper cortisol levels could be mismanaged 
  • Large pills to swallow

Who Should Purchase this Product

If you need to help reset your system and promote feelings of relaxation without the use of melatonin, this is an excellent option.

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#5. LUNA Naturally Sourced Sleeping Pills for Adults

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient: Melatonin, GABA, l Theanine, Valerian Root, and Chamomile
  • Kid Safe: no
  • Bottle Amount: 60 capsules

Using the naturally occurring hormone melatonin to influence sleep, Luna is another all natural sleeping pill that uses the herbal supplements valerian and chamomile to promote feelings of rest and relaxation. It also is combined with l theanine and the neurotransmitter GABA which influences sleep. Marketed as a supplement, this is a popular choice to help reset sleep patterns.

ProsCons
  • No GERD aggravation
  • Quick to sleep and stay asleep
  • Excellent customer service
  • May cause nausea
  • Melatonin may cause restlessness in some people

Who Should Purchase this Product

Also vegan-friendly, these supplements are created to help relax and influence rest. It also is designed to allow you to wake to feel refreshed and alert.

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#6. Hyland’s Baby Calming Tablets

SPECS

  • Sleep Ingredient(s): chamomilla, Coffea cruda, lycopodium
  • Kid Safe: yes
  • Bottle Amount: 125 tablets

If your little one is giving you a very hard time and has trouble flying, is fussy, agitated, crying, irritable, and wakes up at night a lot, these kid-safe tables might be the perfect thing. They contain no sugar, no dyes, and no artificial flavors. They don’t have any ingredients that could be harmful to kids, like naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. 

The formula for these tables uses homeopathic medicine to soothe an agitated baby with no side effects. The tables are also safe to be consumed by adults and can be taken alongside prescription medication if needed. They are suitable for children older than 6 months. 

ProsCons
  • Safe for Babies and Kids
  • Quick to sleep and stay asleep
  • Homeopathic
  • Not good for kids under 6 months

Who Should Purchase this Product

Parents who are flying with kids for the first time, or kids who are well-known to not travel well.

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Conclusion

Sleep aids for flying are best used to help reset your sleep cycle in order to get yourself back in a rhythm that keeps you from feeling tired, restless, anxious, or in a fog. Traveling across time zones can set you back, but getting a true rest to help reset your body’s natural tendencies to stay on schedule can have you enjoying your vacation as you should, or keep you from feeling unfocused when it counts. Always follow sleep aids as directed, and if you are under any other medications or doctors care, be sure to consult with your physician before adding any new medications, OTC or otherwise, to your regimen.