Minimize jet lag with these prevention tips
If you’ve ever crossed over multiple time zones rapidly, you’ve likely experienced some degree of jet lag which causes you to feel pretty crummy for a few days after arrival. Who wants to start off a trip like that? If you follow our advice, you might not totally eliminate jet lag, but you’ll minimize the effects as much as possible. Our plan of action includes steps to do both prior to travel and after arrival.
Remember, jet lag is usually only an issue if you are crossing at least 2 time zones going east-to-west or west-to-east. The more time zones you cross, the worse the jet lag symptoms can potentially be. Traveling eastward tends to be a little worse than traveling westward. Traveling north and south does not cause jet lag.
Experienced travelers will likely have their own favorite way to minimize jet lag. What works for one person may or may not work for another, and experienced travelers often have a regimen that works for them. Here is a review of tips to reduce jet lag.
One of the approaches to jet lag is to expose yourself to light and darkness at the appropriate times. There are smartphone apps that can help you figure out the best times to do this, but it would take some discipline and a flexible schedule to adhere to the recommended light/dark timing.
Here are links to a couple of these apps:
If you want to try the artificial light method, here’s a product that might work:
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep, and it is available over-the-counter. It has been shown in some studies to improve jet lag symptoms. Here’s a review on jet lag by Dr. Pamela Yung from the University of Washington that gives some specific recommendations on melatonin dosing: