Dealing with Jet Lag

May 03, 2017

Whether you’re a business traveler or just someone who vacations a lot, jet lag can be jarring both away and at home. Jet lag is the mismatch between a person’s internal clock and the schedule of the world around them, caused by a move across time zones. Those of us who travel often need a lifestyle mechanism in place to accommodate this shift. 
Anticipate the time change of your coming trip days in advance. If going eastward, go to bed and wake up a bit earlier leading up to your travel date. If going westward, go to bed and wake up later. Make sure to set your watch to the time zone you will be arriving in as soon as you board the plane. When you do arrive, avoid heavy meals and be extra-conscious of the effects of caffeine and exercise near bedtime. 
At some point in your stay at the hotel, it’s important to get exposure to sunlight to properly regulate your circadian clock. Contrary to popular belief, the foods you eat will not help with lessening jet lag. 
Many sleepers have trouble sleeping anywhere outside of their own home, no matter how cozy their hotel is set up. To ease the feeling of being in a new environment, bring elements of your home - like a picture of the family, a favorite pillow or blanket, or even a coffee mug to maintain some semblance of equilibrium. Of course, it’s worth taking advantage of hotel services like requesting two wake-up calls on top of your personal alarm.
When about to embark on a trip, over-the-counter sleep aids or even prescription sleep medication are helpful in managing the short-term insomnia. However, they don’t resolve the internal imbalance caused by jet lag. Melatonin supplements are available over the counter to directly adjust your body’s circadian rhythms. 

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