How to Cope With Jet Lag
What is jet lag and why do you get it?
11 Tips for Dealing With Jet Lag
Some of these strategies may help prevent or ease jet lag:
1. Simulate your new schedule before you leave.
“If you’re traveling east, start moving your bedtime earlier,” says Avelino
Verceles, MD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of
Medicine and director of the school’s sleep medicine fellowship. “Shift it a
half-hour earlier each night for several nights before you leave.”
If you’re traveling west, do the opposite. You can also try moving your
mealtimes closer to the time you’ll be taking them at your destination.
2. Adapt to your new schedule while in flight.
Change your watch when you get on the plane.“This is mostly psychological,”
says Siebern, “but it helps you get into the mind-set of what you’ll be doing
in the place where you’re going.”
Try to sleep on the plane if it’s nighttime where you’re going or stay awake
if it’s daytime -- but don’t force it. “It can be difficult to force yourself
to sleep and that can cause frustration, which can then prevent sleep,” says
Siebern. “If that happens, just try to rest as much as possible.”
3. Arrive early.
If you need to be on top of your game for an event at your destination, try
to arrive a few days early, so your mind and body can adjust.
4. Stay hydrated.
Drink water before, during, and after your flight to counteract dehydration.
Avoid alcohol or caffeine a few hours before you plan to sleep. Alcohol and
caffeine can disrupt sleep and may cause dehydration.
5. Move around.
Get up and walk around periodically, do some static exercises, and stretch
on the flight. But after you land, avoid heavy exercise near bedtime, as it can
6. Consider melatonin.
Melatonin naturally secreted in our bodies helps regulate our circadian
rhythms so that we sleep at night. But the jury is still out on the
effectiveness of the supplement melatonin to combat jet lag and aid sleep. Some
research shows that it can reduce jet lag on flights both east and west, but
other research has not shown a benefit.