Jet lag is a common experience among travelers, even those just skipping over a time zone or two. Here you’ll find some tips and strategies for how to prepare for the transition and how to minimize symptoms to ensure you arrive at your destination ready to take on the day.
- Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that facilitates our ability to sleep, especially if you need to go to bed earlier than you usually do. Dr. Czeisler said that a melatonin supplement can help quiet the brain and silence the signal that you need to be awake; he recommended taking it in your new time zone a half-hour or so before you want to go to sleep.
- Exposing yourself to as much natural light as possible in your new time zone helps reset your biological clock to that destination, Dr. Czeisler said. If you can’t get outside, artificial light, such as a brightly lit room, also helps as long as it’s daytime, not night.
- What you eat and drink matters when it comes to jet lag. Beware if you ply yourself with caffeinated drinks throughout the day in an attempt to stay awake; Dr. Czeisler said that half the amount of caffeine you consume stays in your system for six to nine hours and can interfere with a good night’s rest.
“If you’re heading someplace that has only a few hours’ time difference compared with where you live, Dr. Czeisler suggested shifting your body clock closer to the new time zone a few days before your trip.”