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Sleep Disorders
105 Answers
4,285 Helpful Votes

Adjustment. That’s the key word when it comes to jet lag, and for good reason. When your internal clock doesn’t match the external clock, it can be -– and feel -— like World War III in your body. The problems that arise with jet lag are a clear example of how external influences can disrupt our internal body clock.

So what can you do to prevent the jet lag from making your trip a drag? How about setting your body clock to a new time zone before the journey? By using light therapy or an alarm clock that simulates dawn and dusk with techniques to induce sleep, you can reset your circadian body clock before a journey, thus preventing jet lag from the very start. If you are planning a trip across more than two time zones and want to get accustomed to your destination’s time zone quickly, this might be an approach to take.

Let’s say you have an important business trip for which you have to fly east. Before flying, you’d go to bed and wake up earlier each day while using a light box in the morning and winding down earlier in the evening. If you’re traveling west, you would expose yourself to bright light later in the day, go to bed later and wake up a little later in the morning.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to get a light box, then consider direct sunlight as the next-best alternative. Light boxes, while producing artificial light that mimics the sun’s intensity, don’t emit ultraviolet radiation. They are designed to produce those perfect wavelengths of light (peaking in the optimal “blue” wavelength range, or 460 nanometers) and the light gets directed angularly at your eyes for the greatest effect.

If you can shift your body clock naturally prior to departing, this can be a particularly useful technique if your trip doesn’t allow for much time to adjust before kicking into high gear and demanding your top performance.

Try and switch over to your new time zone right away by going to bed and getting up at the same time you would normally, but on this new time zone. So if you usually go to bed at 10 p.m. in L.A., do the same the first night you land in New York even though your body might think it’s only 7 p.m. Then, the next morning try and go for a walk outside, exposing yourself to light and movement that can help re-set your internal clock.

And take my Traveler’s Survivor Kit with you:

    * Ear plugs.
    * Eye mask.
    * Favorite soothing music and head phones or a device like an iPod.
    * C-shaped pillow that fits around your neck.

These strategies can also be used for shift workers.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Read the Original Article: Jet Through Jet Lag