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International Sleep Remedies to Help Fight Jet Lag and Weight Gain

Tim Boyer's picture
Sleep Remedies

One of the problems of international travel is not just the fact that many of us suffer from jet lag that can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but also is the fact that many experience weight gain as well. This should come as no surprise as numerous studies over the past few years point to the lack of good sleep as one common cause of weight gain.

While prescription drugs can help manage your sleep cycles when taken correctly, they often leave users feeling groggy upon waking, or put them at risk of developing an addiction to the medication. Therefore, travelers are encouraged to turn to sleep remedies that although may seem old-fashioned, are natural, safe, and in some cases―may work as well as their prescription counterparts.

In the August/September issue of Dr. Oz—The Good Life, Oz-writer Kelly DiNardo offers some common and less-common sleep remedies from around the world. Summarized below is her Dr. Oz-recommended list of sleep remedies that you can use to not only help you fight your jet lag, but keep the pounds off as well.

Sleep Remedy #1: Dried Jujube (China)

According to Dr. Oz—The Good Life, dried jujube from China and other regions in Asia may work well as a sleep remedy as its active sleep-inducing components are believed to target the same area of the brain as the popular prescription drug Ambien.

Other sources state that it is actually the small seed referred to as “spiny zizyphus” that is found in this red Chinese date-like fruit that is responsible for its sleep-inducing properties. Dried jujubes are a delicious treat, but if none are available, you can find zizyphus extract or zizyphus tea in health food stores.

Sleep Remedy #2: Valerian (Germany)

Valerian is a highly recommended natural sleep aid used reportedly by both Dr. Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil. Native to European countries and approved by Germany's regulatory agency for herbs, valerian is a popular natural sleep aid of which the plant’s roots are used in teas, tablets, capsules, and tinctures. While the tea itself has a rather unremarkable taste, its dried roots have been likened to smelling like old socks.

Sleep Remedy #3: Chamomile (Serbia)

Native to Eastern European countries like Serbia and Croatia, chamomile has spread worldwide due to its long history as a sleep-inducing herb that is preferentially prepared as a tea when taken.

Reportedly, chamomile gets its name from the Greek chamos (ground) and melos (apple), referring to its creeping habit and the apple scent of fresh blossoms.

Sleep Remedy #4: Melatonin (U.S.)

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Melatonin is one of the more-recommended health supplements for sleep as it is known as the natural sleep hormone of the human body.

However, care must especially be taken when using too much melatonin and at the wrong times of the day can actually worsen sleep problems.

Sleep Remedy #5: Sesame Oil (India)

Although sesame oil can be taken orally and is a popular cooking oil; for sleep, Dr. Oz—The Good Life recommends using sesame oil as a massage oil that when worked into the feet as a soothing foot rub can promote deep sleep.

Sleep Remedy #6: Passion Flower (Brazil)

Known for its ability to induce relaxation via its release of GABA—a neurotransmitter chemical found in the brain—Passion flower tea is commonly promoted to counter sleeplessness.

However, Dr. Oz has also recommended this natural herb for women over 40 who experience mood swings that will not easily correct itself. His advice is that by drinking one cup of Passion flower tea a day can help some women bring back normal hormonal balance to their bodies and to improve their mood and help prevent perimenopausal rage.

Sleep Remedy #7: Warm Milk (Rwanda)

If you are travelling to somewhere as far off the beaten path as Rwanda, your options on finding some of the aforementioned sleep remedies may be limited. However, milk is a popular staple in Rwanda and although it has been a recurring topic of debate, many swear that sipping a glass of warm milk before going to bed is great for inducing sleep.

Current scientific studies are inconclusive regarding these claims and point out that having a glass of warm milk before bed may be more psychologically beneficial as a calming ritual before retiring for the night.

For more about travel and good health, here are some travel tips on how to pack all-natural while traveling this summer.

To learn more about the connection between sleep and weight, here is an informative article how being sleep drunk can cause weight gain.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: Dr. Oz―The Good Life August/September 2014 issue