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Learn2 Combat Jet Lag
(4 steps)

Flying in the face of the traveler's bugaboo

It's four in the morning, and you're tossing and turning between crisp hotel sheets. Then a few hours later, just as you're walking into the big meeting--important enough for you to cross six time zones--you're finally ready to fall asleep. For the next two weeks.

It's every traveler's nightmare. As people fly more and more, both for business and pleasure, circadian dischronism (otherwise known as jet lag) is becoming something of an epidemic. Beside exhaustion and insomnia, symptoms of jet lag include nausea, aching joints, irritability, decreased concentration, headaches and even depression.

Fortunately, science is making inroads into the mysteries of jet lag, and researchers have developed a number of active steps you can take to alleviate its symptoms. If you follow the guidelines outlined in this 2torial, you'll find yourself less shell-shocked, happier and more productive when you reach your final destination

Before you begin

The body's clock is an incredibly complicated mechanism. Because so many factors--both biological and environmental--are involved, scientists have been unable to find a silver-bullet cure for jet lag. Yet research shows it is possible to alleviate symptoms by gradually "tricking" the mind and body into abiding by the new time zone.

Conventional wisdom says that it takes one full day to recover from jet lag for every time zone you cross. So, if you travel across seven time zones and don't take active steps to fight jet lag, you can expect to spend a full week recovering from the shock. However, you may be able to speed up the process if you take the following steps.
   Go to Step 1 of 4

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Step 1: Arrive at the airport in fighting form
Step 2: Fly right
Step 3: Get the right amount of sleep on the plane
Step 4: Abide by your new time zone

  • Drinking water (8 oz for every hour you spend on a plane)
  • Sleeping aids (for flights that arrive in the morning), including:
    • loose clothing (if your clothes keep you from crossing your legs or your hands behind your head, they're too tight)
    • eye shades (most drug stores have them)
    • chewing gum
    • ear plugs
    • neck rest
    • comfortable shoes, or even slippers
    • high-carbohydrate snacks such as fruit, bread or candy (except chocolate)
  • Stimulants (for flights that arrive in the evening):
    • a good book or magazine (if helps to bring one you've already started and are engaged in, rather than graze at the airport bookshop)
    • games (solo-player types, unless you're not travelling alone)
    • if your diet permits, caffeine (such as coffee, tea, soft drinks or in pill form)
  • Athletic shoes and/or comfortable walking shoes--to ensure you get exercise once you arrive
  • After consulting your doctor:
    • Sleeping pills (optional)
    • Melatonin (optional)


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