Content and Editorial Director
Odds are, you have suffered from desynchronosis. Relax, that’s just the medical term for jet lag. It means that your circadian rhythm or your body clock is out of sync. Your body thinks it’s still in one time zone, but it’s physically somewhere else, making everything feel out of whack. But there are some simple ways to deal with it.
Prepare at Home
If you’re flying east, you’ll feel jet lag symptoms more acutely than when flying west. That’s because flying west causes your body to think your day’s getting longer, while going east makes it think the day is shorter. So, adapt your body’s rhythm a few days before departure. When you fly east, try to go to sleep a couple of hours earlier than usual. If you’re going west stay awake one or two extra hours. You should also be getting up earlier, or later, respectively. And pay attention when you’re booking your flight. Arriving in the morning tends to pose problems with fatigue. Arriving in the afternoon or evening can be a better option since you only have to stay awake for a few hours before you head to bed.
Set Your Watch
The trick seasoned travelers rely on the most is probably the easiest. Once you’re on the plane, simply set your watch to the time of your destination. (It’s worth buying an inexpensive timepiece just to do this.) If it’s daytime at your destination, try and stay awake on the flight. If it’s nighttime there, go ahead and nod off. When you arrive, keep following that clock. If it’s morning, you might be tempted to dive under the duvet. But try and stick with the activities of a regular day in your destination, without thinking of what time it is at home.
Melatonin, a natural hormone produced by your brain, has been widely studied, and the latest research indicates that it helps you get to sleep during times when you wouldn't normally be resting. The time at which you take melatonin is important. If you're trying to reset your body clock to an earlier time, you should take melatonin at local bedtime nightly until you have become adapted to local time. If you're trying to reset your body clock to a later time, melatonin should be taken in the morning. You can buy melatonin over the counter, and doses as small as 0.5 milligram seem just as effective as doses of 5 milligrams or higher.
Savvy travelers find that by taking these simple steps they are able to jettison jet lag, and can get into the daily rhythm of their destination much more easily.
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