With the summer quickly approaching, some people are buying their plane tickets for vacation. If you using your vacation time as a time to travel the world, you know that jet lag can threaten a good time. Sleep expert Robert Rosenberg gives these tips on how to combat the exhaustion and not miss one day of your vacation time:
For three nights before traveling east, go to sleep an hour earlier than usual and wake up an hour earlier. When traveling west, sleep an hour later and rise and hour later.
When freshly landed somewhere to the east, don’t expose yourself to light until the afternoon. Why? “The brain is still back home; if you’re in Paris and you get up at 8 am and expose yourself to bright light, it is still nighttime to your brain. You want to do everything you can to help your brain adjust to the new time, so expose yourself to sunlight at 4 pm, when it’s 8 am back home. Just wear sunglasses until then, and then take them off. It’s about easing yourself in.”
Rosenberg suggests taking 0.5 milligrams of melatonin for the first two or three nights in your destination. “It’s very safe, and it’s a great way to get through jet lag,” he said. A sleeping pill, he said, should always be a last resort. “I try to use natural methods first,” he said.
Don’t Give In:
If you have to nap on the day you arrive in a far-off place, keep it to no more than two hours.
Try to arrive in your destination in the afternoon, which will allow you to go to sleep at a “normal” bedtime.
Business trip? Go a couple days early to adjust. “You don’t want that meeting to be on the first day you’re there,” Rosenberg said.
When you get to your destination, eat foods high in tryptophan, such as dairy, red meat, fish and peanuts, which help stimulate melatonin.
Sleep on the Plane:
Obvious, but several hours of sleep en route can make a huge difference toward getting on a regular sleep schedule.
It helps you fall asleep more easily.
The Little Things:
Small advantages help: Turn off electronics 90 minutes before bedtime (melatonin production is suppressed by the bright light from a mobile phone or tablet); don’t drink too much alcohol (which interferes with sleep in a variety of ways) or caffeine after about noon.
Jet lag can be a nuisance because it puts a cloud of exhaustion over you until you adjust, but with some preparation and simple adjustments, you can enjoy all your world travels.
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