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An Open Letter to Jet Lag
Dear Jet Lag,
Oh how I despise thee. Flying is like a sick game to you… and one you always win. Why do you take such pleasure in rendering us useless at the start of our adventures? What did we ever do to you? You’ve been the elusive foe of many a traveler for as long as I remember and it’s time we got some runs on the board. There’s a general global consensus that hydration, sleeping if it’s nighttime at the destination and noise-cancelling headphones will make you go away. But you’re a stubborn little bugger aren’t you? And just when we think we’ve escaped your dirty clutches you rear your ugly head sometimes weeks after we’ve departed the airport! But I’m here to say that times they are-a-changin’, and the strategies on how to beat you are more effective than ever before. So read this and weep, Jet Lag, because we’re coming for you…
5 Unexpected Ways to Reduce Jet Lag: A Memo for all the Frequent Travelers Out There
Bright Light Therapy
Bright light suppresses the brain’s natural production of melatonin, the chemical secreted by the brain to help humans sleep. So if you arrive at your destination at 6am, make sure you expose yourself to a lot of sunlight or bright light throughout the day. At about 7pm ensure that you switch to very low-light in order to stimulate melatonin and let your circadian sleep rhythm kick in.
Alcohol Causes Jet Lag.. Or Does It?
You know that age-old saying about alcohol causing jet-lag? Well, you can put that in your pipe and smoke it… sort-of. While it’s true that over-indulging in alcohol can cause dehydration, having a couple of standard drinks to aid in relaxation can in fact have a positive effect on sleep. Just make sure that for every standard drink you indulge in, drink 2 cups of water, and don’t forget to align your scheduled plane sleeping times to that of your destination’s.
The Anti Jet-Lag Pill
So far, the closest thing we have to a complete and utter jet lag cure is the prescription melatonin pill, which supplements the hormone melatonin produced by the brain’s pineal gland to help us feel drowsy and ready to sleep. For the purpose of treating jet lag, it is suggested that a low dose between 0.3 mg and 5 mg of melatonin be taken on the first day you travel a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep. This may be continued at bedtime for a few days once you are at your destination. Melatonin seems to be most effective when crossing five or more time zones, or traveling east.
It’s All In The Sustenance
Eat clean for a couple of days leading up to your trip to help prepare your body for clock-resetting. Think organic fruit and veggies and white meats. No processed food and try to avoid grains at this time. Same goes for food on the aircraft – try to eat as plain as possible (pun intended), and bring some nuts and snacks from the health food store just incase.
Use Apps To Nap
Need help keeping all these tips straight? Apps like Jet Lag Genie or Jet Lag Rescue make things easy by creating a schedule of when to eat, sleep, nap, and take melatonin in order to adjust to the new time zone seamlessly.