If you’ve ever flown across time zones, you’ve probably experienced jet lag—and you probably never want to experience it again. Here are 5 tips for preventing this temporary yet taxing sleep problem:
One, move your bedtime. If you’re going east, start bumping your bedtime up. In the week leading up to your flight, go to sleep 30 minutes earlier than the night before. If you’re going west, do the opposite: slowly push your bedtime to later.
Two, when you get on the plane, abide by the time zone of your destination. If it’s nighttime where you’re going, try to sleep on your flight. If it’s daytime, try to stay awake.
Three, stay hydrated. Dehydration can worsen the effects of jet lag, so drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Four, wear blue-light-blocking glasses. Blue light stimulates the brain and suppresses production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. Wear blue-light-blocking glasses to allow your body to receive its normal signals to rest and relax. This will help you prevent as well as recover quickly from jet lag.
Five, load up on carbs before your flight. Many frequent fliers swear by a “jet lag diet” that involves eating high-carb foods in the days leading up to their flight and then fasting on the day of. While this diet hasn’t been scientifically proven to prevent jet lag, it still might be worth a try if jet lag is a frequent problem for you.
Together, these five tips can help you ward off jet lag.
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