High-speed travel through multiple time zones can open a Pandora’s box of jet lag. To minimize the damage and maximize your vacation or business trip, be prepared!
Before your trip: If you’re traveling east, start by hitting the hay earlier and waking up with the roosters (pretend!) for several days before your trip, and consider taking a melatonin supplement at your new bedtime. If you’ve never used melatonin before, now would be a good time to have a discussion with your doctor about dosing and other details. If you’re traveling west, you can prepare by staying up a little later than usual for several nights before your departure.
En route: The humidity in airplanes is dramatically lower and significantly drier than the air we usually breathe. So drink plenty of extra water. Avoid coffee and alcohol. Walk and stretch during layovers and on the plane, if possible.
Upon arrival: Bask in daylight when you get to your destination — or first thing the next morning, if you arrive at night. Don’t take even a quick snooze in the afternoons — save that sleep for when your new bedtime arrives.
“Staying hydrated is the single most important strategy to avoid jet lag,” notes Cleveland Clinic sleep specialist Michelle Drerup, PsyD.