Summer is one of the most popular times of year to take a vacation. If you have ever traveled overseas, or just across many time zones, you have probably experienced jet-lag. For the uninitiated, jet-lag is that zombie-like sensation which could be considered akin to the feeling of starting the day with no sleep. To help prevent you from turning into a zombie at your travel destination, Reader’s Digest has compiled a list of 15 ways to fight jet-lag which are excerpts from the book “Sleep to be Sexy, Smart, and Slim” by Ellen Michaud. Check out some our favorites from the list, inside…
1. ACCLIMATE. If you’re going to be gone longer than a couple of days, begin acclimating your body to the new time zone by altering your eating schedule three days before your plane takes off. If you’re heading west to San Diego from Boston, for example, three days before you leave, eat an hour earlier each day. Flying from San Diego back to Boston? Help reverse the acclimation and get back on home time by eating an hour later each day for three days.
5. HIT THE LINGUINE. Or any other carb-dense food at dinner on the night before your flight. Scientists have been arguing for some time about whether or not this decreases jet lag and increases your potential for normal sleep, but recent research on clock genes has uncovered subtle effects that indicate carbs boost your ability to sleep—particularly when you fly westward. No one’s quite figured out how they help, but they do know that carbs provide your brain with a source of tryptophan from which it can make the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin.
6. REFRIGERATE. If you’re flying during what would be night hours at your destination, try to get some sleep on the plane. Use earplugs to eliminate noise, an eyeshade to kill the light, and turn the air-conditioning valve on high. A third cue your body uses to set its internal clock is temperature. A lower temperature lowers your body’s core temperature and signals it’s time for sleep. A higher temperature raises your body’s core temperature and signals that it’s time to wake. To keep from getting too chilled, bring along one of those silk blanket-and-pillow sets that are sold through airline and online travel catalogs.
7. AVOID AIRLINE FOOD. A fourth cue your body uses to set its internal clock is food. Since airline food is served onboard according to the time at your home base, eating it can sabotage efforts to reset your clock to the time zone to which you’re traveling.
8. CONSIDER THE MEDICAL OPTION. Short-acting sleeping pills can help you sleep through an overnight flight. They can also help you sleep during the first couple of nights at your destination. That said, keep in mind that if a sleeping pill is taken just a little later than it should be on local time, it can exacerbate the effects of jet lag. Even worse, if the drug lasts longer than the flight, you’ll arrive drowsy at your destination—that’s not good if you have to drive or negotiate local transportation home.
Check out the Reader’s Digest article for the full list.
In our experience, jet-lag remedies are like cold remedies in that everybody has a different one. What are some jet-lag remedies that you find to be effective?