How to Fight Jet Lag

Jet Lag and Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, one of the most common sleep disorders is jet lag. As we travel to different time zones, our internal body clock goes haywire. We feel tired when it’s daytime and wired when it’s night, because our circadian rhythm has us stuck in our regular sleep/wake cycle. It takes several days for our sleep cycles to catch up to a new time zone. Here’s a few simple ways to help you readjust to your new bedtime:

Stay Awake The first few days of jet lag are the toughest to get through. But napping will just prolong the agony. Try and stay awake until your regular bedtime in the new time zone.

Get Outside Exposure to sunlight helps reset your sleep/wake cycle, telling your brain that you should be awake when it’s light out and asleep when it’s dark. A brisk walk in the sunshine helps readjust your sleep schedule.

Limit Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine Try to avoid stimulants like coffee, cigarettes or alcohol at least four hours before bed. Even though a big glass of wine may help you fall asleep, alcohol suppresses REM sleep, making you feel exhausted in the morning.

Create the Optimal Sleep Environment It’s difficult falling asleep in a new place, even for the best sleepers. This common sleep problem is called the “First Night Effect.” Survey your new bedroom for potential sleep disruptors—turn a glowing red alarm clock away from the bed or block that sliver of light peeking through the drapes—and make the room as cool, quiet and dark as possible. An eye mask and ear plugs can also help.