If you’re a frequent traveler, then you need to know how to conquer jetlag. It starts from understanding what causes it, but the next step is prevention and cure. A sleep specialist can prescribe drugs, but if you’d like to try alternative remedies then read this article. It offers some of the natural, organic cures for jetlag.
Jetlag experts explained in this article that jetlag is triggered by exposure to light. So, light therapy can help. Basically, you try to simulate sunlight, through an artificial bright light. This can be a lightbox or desk lamp (nearly every hotel has one of those). You can also get light visors.
To use light therapy, several days before your trip, calculate the time in your country of destination and when you ‘should’ be awake if you were there. Then, expose yourself to these light sources during the time. This allows your body to adjust its circadian rhythm, so by the time you land, you’re wide awake along with the rest of the destination city.
Using the same principle, avoid light at the times when it would be night in your destination city. Draw the curtains, use a sleep mask. Or, if you need to go out, wear very dark sunglasses.
Melatonin is considered a natural treatment because it works with your body’s natural hormones. It can make you feel sleepy. Generally you should take melatonin if you would like to shift your body clock to an earlier hour. Take it in the evening if you’d like to push your body clock to a later hour.
Melatonin takes about 20 minute to take effect. It should not be taken with alcohol. You may experience some uncomfortable side effects, such as headaches, dizziness and nausea. It can also affect your appetite.
Adjust your schedule
If you’d rather not take any drug or medicine at all, you can adjust your schedule and your diet to prepare your body for the change and minimize its effects. For example, if you are flying west, go to bed one hour later every night, (10 pm on Thursday, 11 pm on Friday, 12 mn on Saturday). Sleep earlier if you are flying east. Adjust your meal times, too. Wear or carry a watch that is set to the new time zone so you can follow this schedule easily.
Drink lots of water to prevent any dehydration that you may experience in the plane, since research shows that the dry air in the cabins do make jetlag worse. And bring whatever you can in your carry on luggage to help you get quality sleep on the plane: earplugs, relaxing music, eye masks. Or, if you need to stay awake, bring your favorite ‘wake up’ playlist, a good book, etc.
Photo from health.ninemsn.com.au