Jet Lag Tips

Jet Lag Tips

Planning Your Trip FAM¹ MAY² MNT³ NIH⁴ RD⁵
Arrange your flight time. If you’re flying east, book an early flight. If you’re flying west, however, book a later flight.
Consider a stopover. Break up your trip.  If you are traveling from New York to India, schedule a stopover of a few days in Europe.
Arrive a few days early. If you need to be in top form at your destination, try to arrive a few days early to give your body a chance to adjust.
Ask your doctor about your medicines. Get medical advice, if you have a medical condition that requires monitoring (such as diabetes or heart disease).  Ask about medication schedules and doctor’s appointments, if necessary, in the destination time zone.  Take extra medicine with you in case your return trip is delayed.
Arrive ahead of time. For important events or meetings at your destination, try to arrive ahead of time to allow for the time difference.
Consider slower transportation. Take a slow boat. Jet lag got its name for a reason. Crossing time zones slowly allows your body more time to adjust and usually eliminates the worst jet lag symptoms.
Before Departing FAM MAY MNT NIH RD
Get in shape. Your physical stamina and conditioning will enable you to cope better after you land.
Move your mealtimes. If possible, eat meals closer to the time you’ll be eating them at your destination.
Keep bedtimes on schedule. Maintain a sensible bedtime schedule prior to your trip.
Begin changing your sleep times. Begin preparing for time changes a few days before your departure by getting up a half hour to an hour earlier or by going to bed later (depending on where you’re heading).
Get plenty of rest before your trip. Starting out sleep-deprived makes jet lag worse.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Avoid items of apparel that pinch, restrict, or chafe. Keep in mind the climate in your destination time zone.
On the Plane FAM MAY MNT NIH RD
Set your watch to the new time. Do this as you begin the trip.
Move around on the plane. … To avoid getting blood clots and to refresh your body, which mental and physical acuity.
Drink plenty of water. … To counteract the effects of the dry atmosphere inside the plane.
Avoid alcohol.  

Do not drink alcoholic beverages the day before your flight, during your flight, or the day after your flight. These beverages can cause dehydration, disrupt sleeping schedules, and trigger nausea and general discomfort.
Avoid caffeine. Do not drink caffeinated beverages before, during, or just after the flight. Caffeine can also cause dehydration and disrupt sleeping schedules. What’s more, caffeine can jangle your nerves and intensify any travel anxiety you may already be feeling.
Sleep on the plane. … If it’s nighttime at your destination. If it’s day where you’re going, resist the urge to sleep.
Block out disturbances. Use earplugs, headphones and eye masks to block out noise and light.
After Arriving FAM MAY MNT NIH RD
For short hauls, maintain your schedule. Maintain a schedule of eating and sleeping at your usual time, if possible, while at your destination. For longer trips, try to adapt to the time schedule to which you’re traveling before you leave.
Use sunlight to reset your clock. After flying west, spend a few hours outdoors in the afternoon; after heading east, take a half-hour walk outside in the morning.
Avoid light at certain times. This is every bit as important as taking it in at others. The hypothetical New York to Paris traveler should avoid light from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on day one and from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on day two for best results. In the real world, that can be a challenge. At night, draw the blinds or drapes in your hotel room or use a sleep mask. During the day, dark glasses can help block out light.
Continue daily exercise. Exercise as much as you can on your trip.
Avoid exercising late in the evening … Because it can keep you awake.
Adapt to the local schedule. If you arrive at noon local time (but 6 a.m. your time), eat lunch, not breakfast.
Eat right. Eat well-balanced meals.  Avoid overeating.
Try not to sleep until nighttime. … No matter how tired you are.
Check your new room. See that beds and bathroom facilities are satisfactory and that cooling and heating syste
Perhaps take a mild sedative. If you have difficulty sleeping on the first two or three nights, it’s okay to take a mild sedative if your physician has prescribed one. But wean yourself off the sedative as soon as possible.
Try taking melatonin. There is strong scientific evidence for its use.
It may time to recover. Allow a day for every time zone you’ve passed through to fully recover from your jet lag.

Summarized from:   ¹FamilyDoctor.org (FAM),   ²Mayo Clinic (MAY),
³MedicineNet (MNT),   ⁴U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH),
and ⁵Reader’s Digest (RD)

 

 

 

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