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How to Cope With Jet Lag

What is jet lag and why do you get it?

8. Eat sensibly.

Some frequent fliers swear by jet lag diets -- such as eating a heavy diet for a few days before travel and fasting on flight day. No diets have been proven effective for preventing jet lag, however. “We do recommend not eating a high carb or fatty diet close to bedtime because that can be disruptive to sleep,” says Siebern.

9. Take a hot bath before bedtime.

A bath can ease sore muscles from travel and help you relax and wind down. The drop in your body temperature when you get out of a bath may also make you sleepy.

10. Minimize sleep distractions.

An eye mask or earplugs may help you sleep on the plane and at your destination. Try to eliminate distractions in your room at bedtime, such as light shining in through a window.

11. Consider medication.

It’s usually not necessary to get treatment for jet lag, but if these strategies don’t work for you, your doctor may prescribe or suggest medications to take temporarily to help you sleep or stay alert when necessary.

Advice for Frequent Fliers

If you fly frequently and jet lag is a problem, consider seeing a sleep specialist -- a physician or psychologist who has specialized training in sleep medicine. “There are a number of ways that sleep specialists can help with shifting your body’s circadian rhythm toward your new time zone, such as with light therapy, melatonin, or prescription medication that can help with jet lag symptoms,” Siebern says.

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Reviewed on January 19, 2010
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