Use sunlight to reset your internal clock. It's the most powerful natural tool for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
Plan ahead to determine the best times for light exposure based on your departure and destination points and overall sleep habits.
For example, a poor sleeper traveling from New York to Paris is advised to seek light in the afternoon on the first few days in France. After the first few days, the traveler should seek light in the morning. By the third or fourth day, the traveler's internal clock should mesh with the local time. The results are even better if light exposure is combined with exercise such as walking or jogging.
Avoiding light at certain times is every bit as important as taking it in at others. A traveler going from New York to Paris should avoid light in the morning on the first few days. During the day, dark glasses can help block out light. At night, draw the blinds or drapes in your hotel room or use a sleep mask.
Beverages with caffeine such as coffee, espresso and soft drinks may help offset daytime sleepiness. It's best to time caffeine use so that it doesn't make it even more difficult to fall asleep or sleep well.
Jan. 05, 2013
- Herxheimer A. Jet lag. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 24, 2012.
- Kolla BP, et al. Jet lag and shift work sleep disorders: How to help reset the internal clock. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2011;78:675.
- Morgenthaler TI, et al. Practice parameters for the clinical evaluation and treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Sleep. 2007;30:1445.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Nov. 1, 2012.
- Jet lag. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. http://yoursleep.aasmnet.org/Disorder.aspx?id=9. Accessed Oct. 24, 2012.
- Sack RL. Jet lag. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;362:440.
- Auger RR, et al. Jet lag and other sleep disorders relevant to the traveler. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2009;7:60.
- Sleep disorders and CAM: At a glance. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/sleep/ataglance.htm. Accessed Nov. 7, 2012.
- Morgenthaler TI (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 30, 2012.