Try These New Tips For Hassle-Free Getaways
Summer is finally here. But for those looking forward for memorable sunny months, they have to prepare themselves for the hassle of jet lag. Amid the excitement, jet lag can seem inevitable especially when one’s getaway involves crossing multiple time zones.
But worry no more, for a jet lag expert shares tips for a jet lag summer vacation!
Thanks to Dr. Alon Avidan, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, who announces the availability of treatment for jet-lag syndrome. The treatment aims to speed up one’s ability to become used to the new time zone. One of those treatments is the use of low-dose melatonin, a sleep-aid supplement.
Dr. Avidan highlighted that there is nothing that eliminates jet lag, but there are ways to minimize its effects.
Jet-lag syndrome is a condition marked by fatigue, insomnia, and irritability that is caused by air travel through changing time zones. Traveling west-to-east and the number of time zones crossed seems to increase the severity of jet lag. Eastward travel generally causes difficulty falling asleep, while westward travel causes difficulty staying asleep.
One of the most effective treatments involves the use of timed light and low-dose melatonin. How much and when are critical, but here are some suggestions:
- Melatonin: low, short-acting dose (0.5 mg or less) is recommended.
- Traveling westward: To promote shifting of the body clock to a later time, melatonin may be taken during the second half of the night until you have become adapted to local time.
- Traveling eastward: To promote shifting of the body clock to an earlier time, take melatonin at local bedtime nightly until you have become adapted to local time.
- Light exposure: Bright outdoor light is suggested.
- Traveling westward: Maximize exposure to bright light in the evening.
- Traveling eastward: Maximize exposure to bright light in the morning.
How to Minimize Effects of Jet Lag
According to Avidan and the National Sleep Foundation, these are helpful tips to minimize the effects of jet lag:
- Low dose (0.5mg) melatonin supplements may help reduce symptoms of jet lag.
- Sleep medications may be used on arrival for three consecutive nights, starting with the first night’s sleep after travel. Always consult your physician about the type of sleep aid and dose that may be appropriate for you.
- Anticipate the time change for trips by getting up and going to bed earlier several days prior to an eastward trip and later for a westward trip.
- Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime. Both act as stimulants and prevent sleep.
- Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals, but eat meals according to local time.
- Avoid alcohol on the flight. Despite its temptation, alcohol magnifies high altitude’s effects; it leads to significant dehydration, depresses your breathing and always worsens jet lag symptoms.
- Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
- Try to get outside in the sunlight at the appropriate time. Daylight is the most powerful stimulant for resetting your jet lag for your trip and on your way back home.