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Jet Lag Solutions From A Travel Medicine Expert

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Jet Lag Solutions From A Travel Medicine Expert

Jet lag is one of the most frequent problems for travelers crossing multiple time zones when their normal sleep-wake cycle gets out of sync. Common jet lag symptoms include: daytime fatigue; insomnia; poor concentration; digestive disturbances; irritability; and depression. It happens more often if crossing four time zones, flying west to east, in persons older than 55, in those less physically fit and in those with a "type A" personality.

There isn't a magic remedy for jet lag because you can't fool your body, but some measures from Jeffrey Band, M.D., medical director of Beaumont Hospitals' International Travel Health program may help:

* Get adequate rest before a long trip.

* Don't try to cram everything into the last day before your trip - relax.

* Try to sleep during long flights. A noise cancellation device can be helpful, as can a short-acting antihistamine or a low-dose prescription sleeping pill.

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* Drink lots of water while traveling.

* Avoid heavy meals on an airplane.

* Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.

* Set your watch to the new time zone.

* Get out in the fresh air and sunshine if you arrive during the day. If you arrive at night walk and do stretching exercises.

* Short-acting antihistamines, melatonin or a prescription sleep aid may help the first few nights if you have trouble sleeping.

* Try not to plan major activities on the day you arrive - relax.