How to Cure Jet Lag
Build you own Anti - Jetlag kit for your travels!
If you are going to take a trip and will be faced with jet lag, this information will help you recover quickly. These remedies will also help you if you have to work odd shifts or have on and off night and day shifts, which has the same result on your system as flying between time zones.
Years ago, I suffered a lot because I thought diet was the only way to control jet lag, and that wasn't appealing. Because I have now had years of experience adjusting to big time zone changes - my usual trip is as far as you can go, 12 time zones - I recover quickly. Sometimes, I don't notice much at all. So I am going to share my years of experience here, in the hopes that it will help you when you are faced with jet lag. By the way - this will help you if you have to work odd shifts or have on and off night and day shifts too.
If you don't do anything to help your jet lag, it will take one day for each time zone you traveled for you to recover. That means that if you are from New York and go to visit China, which is 13 time zones away, it will take almost 13 days to recover. But with some smart planning, you can recover much faster. In this lens are quite a few tricks for you to try to speed up your shift work and/or jet lag recovery. Do read all the way to the bottom of this lens. There is no fluff here. I have tried all these and they make a difference. I hope my experience will help you. Good luck to you, and safe travels!
What should your Anti-jetlag kit have in it?
This is what keeps me from having bad jet lag when I travel:
Melatonin - 1 mg tablets that dissolve under your tongue
Homeopathic Rescue Remedy - Sleep
Homeopathic Moon Drops
Sleep Music with brainwave entrainment
Melatonin - The ones that dissolve under your tongue are best
Melatonin is perhaps the most important piece of your anti-jet lag kit. Some of my friends complain that it gives them a headache. When Melatonin was first used for jet lag many years ago, the doctors said you should take 3 mg. That gave a lot of people headaches, including me. Now the recommendation is 1 mg. I have found that I can bite a tiny sliver off the 1 mg. pill, and it works just as well.
So if you tried melatonin previously and got a headache from it, try taking a tiny bite off a 1 mg pill, and see if you still get a headache. It works for me. Maybe it would work for you. At any rate, such a small amount won't hurt anyone. And - just so I have said it - if you do have some real problem with it, see your doctor. This is not medical advice - just sharing my own experience!
Homeopathic Remedies - A gentle way to fall asleep
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth's mother is said to have always used homeopathic medicine for her ailments? You may not be familiar with homeopathic medicine, but you should try it. It works for our family really well, and should not affect other medicines you take. Of course, check with your doctor if you have any questions. They are all "over the counter" remedies. I use this if I wake up in the middle of the night. If you can't use melatonin, this is a good second choice to take at bedtime.
Sleep Music - Specially engineered to help you sleep deeply
Sleep music is a special kind of music that has certain rhythms embedded into it, either a heartbeat rhythm, or sleep brainwave frequencies in the "Delta" range. When you listen to this music, your brain naturally picks up the sleep rhythms, and soon you are asleep. It is a fantastic way to help you get to sleep. I have heard them all. These are my favorites:
Another great album!
The grandfather of them all.
This one is free, and very lovely. Wonderful for children, and also for adults! It does not contain the sleep frequencies, but it is so soothing that you will soon be sleeping like a baby. If you have kids, give this one a try.
What is the official name for jet lag and what does it tell us?
Maybe you know the word synchronized, as in Synchronized Swimming, the Olympic sport? Syn means "with" and chronos means "time."
When things are synchronized, they are going on at the same time. That is the way we are when we are at home on a regular schedule. When we go to another time zone, our bodies are confused by the change in time, because when the brain thinks it is time to eat breakfast, it isn't that time at all. When the brain is ready to sleep and producing sleep hormones, we may be in the middle of our new time zone's day. When you have to adjust to time changes, you feel badly, and your body can really protest not eating at the regular time or sleeping when your body things it is bedtime. You feel fuzzy, have a headache, or might even feel nauseous. This is jet lag.
Your body sets itself up a rhythm, called a "circadian rhythm," so that it is aware of when it is night and day, and makes the right hormones and other things you need for waking up, eating, and sleeping. If you do shift work, or fly across more than a few time zones, the brain's clock will be out of sync with the time at your destination. Your brain thinks it is the middle of the night, but the sun may in fact be rising. All the hormones and natural changes in your body temperature will be upset. This is in part because your brain reacts when there is strong sunlight. Of course, the body will adjust, because we are adjustable, but it may take time. That is why we have jet lag.
How jet lagged can I get?
The longer the trip, the worse the jet lag?
On one trip I was chatting with a seatmate on the airplane with a woman who had traveled from further west in Asia than I had. I commented to her that our trip from Beijing was as difficult as it gets for jet lag, since it was halfway around the earth. She looked at me scornfully and said, "I have traveled through 18 time zones, so I have traveled farther than you have, and it will take me much longer to get over jet lag than you!"
I tried to explain that how long you traveled isn't what affects jet lag, but she never understood. In fact, what matters is not the length of your trip, but how far away you are from your destination in time zones. If you fly from Argentina or some other city at the far end of South America, to San Francisco, you will spend hours on the airplane, but you may not change time zones at all. This trip will affect you, because it is a stress to spend hours on an airplane. But you won't have jet lag, because you will be in the same time zone. Jet lag is not affected by the length of your flight. It is affected by how far you have traveled east to west. Crossing the International Date line does not affect it either. The worst jet lag you can get is 12 hours.
How many time zones does the earth have?
The earth has 39 time zones, but this is because different countries create their own time zone system for convenience. Geographers divide the earth into 24 time zones, one for every hour in the day. The zones are about 15 degrees of longitude, which are about 69 miles wide (111 km) at the fattest part of the earth, the equator. The zones get thinner as you move north or south towards the poles, because the earth is round.
A poll! Need your input on Jet lag remedies - What works for you?
Have you tried any of these? Are you planning on going someplace in a different time zone soon? Which one will you try?
Which jet lag remedy has worked for you?
Prepare with your diet
I would be remiss if I didn't say something about diet and jet lag, but it is my least favorite method to use.
The basic idea is to give your system plenty of protein to use in the day and high carbohydrate meals at night.
Have you ever crashed after a big meal of spaghetti? After you eat a lot of carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises. Then your pancreas puts out a lot of insulin, and your blood sugar falls, sometimes quite rapidly. That is when you will feel very sleepy.
If you are on a business trip, this may be a life saver for you. Stick with protein meals until you know you will be able to sleep. Then have a meal that is high in carbs. You will feel tired almost right away! Don't be far from your bed!
Light therapy - Good choice for shift workers - Wake up your brain in the morning!
Strong sunlight signals your brain that it is morning. This will help reset your body's system. My little brother uses one of these.
A good choice for shift workers.
Green light glasses for jet lag?
Check out the Re-Timer!
What is the Re-Timer? It is a wearable green light device that gives off a soft green light, much like sunglasses, but not quite. The soft green light is emitted by the glasses onto your eyes, and you can wear the glasses even when you are reading or doing computer work. Green light has a specific wavelength which is effective in changing our body clocks to a different schedule. This one is good for both jet lag and also people who work in shifts.
Staying awake when you need to...
The other side of jet lag
Sometimes you have to stay awake even though you have jet lag. Like today, not even 24 hours of my arrival in China, in the two meetings I had this afternoon after a lovely lunch in a warm and cozy setting. Needless to say, it was hard to keep my eyes open. After you travel, staying awake can be a more difficult problem than sleeping. I have the secret cure in my knapsack. It's called the iPad. iPad? Yes, that is right.
Part of the body's sleep mechanism depends on light hitting your eyes signaling your brain to "wake up." The traditional way to get that light is by taking a walk in the sunshine, but sometimes that is not possible. Another strong light source is your iPad screen, which can provide the light necessary to let your brain know that you don't want to be sleeping.
If you are willing to play a few minutes of an exciting game on an iPad for 5 - 10 minutes, this should be enough to get you past your need for sleep, in part due to the adrenalin that an exciting game will generate, in part due to the strong light near your eyes, which stops the production of your sleep hormones. My iPad, a gift from a friend, is now one of the most important parts of my "anti-jetlag" kit for keeping awake in the day.
Some other jet lag remedies to try
I have given you my four favorites, but here are more. You never know what may help you.
- Cherry Juice Drink some cherry juice before bed. It not only helps you sleep better, but will help you sleep longer. This has been proven in scientific studies. The best cherry juice for this is made from Montmorency Tart Cherries.
See a summary of the research here. I love Cherry Juice. You can get concentrate and just put a teaspoon or two in a small glass of water. This is a really yummy jet lag recovery solution.
- Yoga Poses Do you like yoga? There are good yoga poses that help you sleep. My friend and Yoga Expert Lulu has searched through many poses to find the best for helping you sleep and posted them on www.yogarelieftips.com.
- Computer Screen Light Adjustment Software - It's called F.lux And yes, there is a dot between the F and the lux. Sometimes your cell phone or computer can be what is keeping you awake. If you stare at the screen, it is like signaling your brain that it is morning, no matter what time of day it is. Some people turn their computers off at sunset if they are really sensitive. I am like that. If I used my IPad at night, I was finished - bright eyed and completely awake for hours. BUT - there is something called F.lux that adjusts your computer screen's output of light so that it won't interfere with your sleep. All you have to do is tell the program where you are, and F.lux will adjust your screen to have sunlight settings in the day and warm orange light like the lights in your home at night during the evening hours. This software works like a charm! Click here. to visit the site.