You're best off adjusting to the new time as soon as possible. If your schedule permits, it may be useful to begin the time shift even before departure. For 2 or 3 days before departure, go to bed a little earlier or later each night. Go to bed a little earlier if you're travelling east, and go to bed later if you're travelling west.
Some people take melatonin* supplements for jet lag. Recommendations on how to take melatonin vary. In general, melatonin may be taken at an appropriate dose (between 0.1 mg and 10 mg) at bedtime for a few nights starting the day you arrive. If you are traveling eastbound, you may begin to take melatonin at bedtime for a few days before departure. Ask your health care provider when you should start taking melatonin, at what dose, and for how long.
There are studies showing that melatonin can help minimize jet lag, but none prove it is safe to take for long periods of time. Some experts worry that routinely taking this hormone in pill form may reduce the ability of the pineal gland to produce your own internal supply of melatonin. People who travel a great deal and use melatonin frequently are running unknown risks. In most instances, jet lag isn't serious enough to justify this type of risk. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about melatonin.
If you choose to try melatonin, ensure that the product you buy has a natural health product (NHP) number. This will ensure that the product meets Health Canada's standards of safety and quality.
Recent studies show that changing one's exposure to outdoor light may improve jet lag considerably. This is because sunlight affects the stimuli (zeitgabers) to the eye, which then affects pineal gland. You can also buy light boxes that can be used when outdoor light is not available. It's a good idea to talk to a health care professional about whether light boxes are right for you and how to use them most effectively.
For eastbound travel crossing more than six time zones, exposure to afternoon light (whether or not the sun is shining) is helpful. For travel crossing less than six time zones, morning sunlight is useful. The opposite is recommended for westbound travel.
Some business travellers use a very short-acting sedative medication to sleep on aircraft, thus reducing the risk of jet lag. Ask your doctor whether this is a good option for you.
Other suggestions to reduce the impact of jet lag while travelling include:
- drinking plenty of water
- eating small meals frequently and choosing lighter foods like fruit and vegetables
- ensuring you get enough sleep before you leave - a sleep deficit or "debt" will make jet lag worse
- limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks
- trying to nap whenever you feel sleepy
- wearing loose, comfortable clothing
- walking around the airplane cabin whenever possible
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Jet-Lag