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Jet Lag - Treatment

Jet lag does not usually require treatment. There are remedies and behavioral adjustments that can help you overcome jet lag after you travel:

Plan ahead

By slowly changing the time that you go to sleep and when you wake up in the weeks before your trip, you should have an easier time adjusting to the jet lag. When the time for the trip comes, your sleep schedule should be relatively close to that of your destination.

Sunlight

Sunlight is a powerful tool to reset your internal clock. After you reach your destination, make sure to open a window or go outside during the daytime to expose yourself to sunlight. This will help you adjust to the new time zone.

Bright light therapy

This involves exposure to a special artificial light at certain times to help reinforce your body clock and ease the transition to a new time zone. This is especially useful if you are frequently indoors or travel to a location without much natural sunlight. Schedule short sessions in the morning and early afternoon with the light. You can use a special light box, desk lamp, visor or dawn simulator for light therapy.

Melatonin

Melatonin supplements can help your body adjust to jet lag by adjusting your circadian rhythms. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland and considered a signal for when you body is supposed to sleep. Research suggests that a dose as low as 0.5 mg is just as effective as higher doses.

Sleeping pills

Your doctor can prescribe for you a hypnotic sleeping pill to help you get rest at the proper times when you first reach your destination or to help avoid sleep deprivation during the flight. Sleeping pills may help you sleep better as you adjust to the new time zone, but are not necessary and should be used on a short-term basis.

Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption

Caffeine and alcohol use can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It is recommended that you avoid these substances while you are on the airplane.

Exercise

Some studies have shown that moderate exercise helps adjustment to the new time schedule. Outdoor exercise has the dual advantage of including exposure to sunlight.

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