So you were lucky enough to attend the Academy Awards, or at the very least you hung out with friends and partied like it was Saturday night. Now, it’s 3 p.m. and you can barely keep your head off of your desk. Try these tips for Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue
Whether you are traveling a hundred miles by car or across many time zones by plane, your sleep is very important. Traveling across time zones offsets your circadian rhythm (aka sleep cycle), leading to the onset of what is colloquially referred to as jet lag.
Dr. Robert Rosenberg, medical director of two sleep disorder clinics in Arizona, and a 20-year veteran of the field of sleep medicine offer the following sleep tips for travelers:
If you are traveling by car:
– Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the journey.
– Stop every two hours to stretch and relax.
– Avoid alcohol consumption the night before and this may prevent a good night’s rest and leave you dangerously sleepy the next day.
If traveling by plane:
– Consider noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.
– Drink plenty of fluids to combat the dry air and potential for dehydration while flying.
– Consider wearing eyeshades while traveling in order to allow you to sleep.
– If crossing many time zones to the east, try to get to bed one hour earlier daily until you are falling asleep three hours earlier. When traveling to the west, get to bed one hour later until you are falling asleep three hours later.
– Avoid bright light within a few hours of falling asleep at your destination. Bright light will hinder your ability to fall asleep. However, exposure to bright light in the morning at your destination will help to facilitate sleep at night.
– If possible, try to get a flight that arrives at your destination in the evening and stay up until 10 PM local time before going to sleep.
At Your Destination:
– The use of small doses of melatonin taken at bedtime at your destination may be helpful. However, contact you health care provider first to see if there are any contraindications.
– When choosing a hotel, try to get a room away from the elevator or ice machine, as the sound from both is likely to disturb your sleep.
– Make sure the window shades work properly prior to retiring for the evening.
– Avoid a room on facing a busy street or on the lower floors of your hotel.
– Call ahead and request your pillow preference.
Instead of falling asleep to the radio or television, turn them off and try listening to a “sleep CD) which provides natural, soothing sounds.
Set your alarm clock or request a wakeup call for early appointments least the fear of oversleeping keep you awake.
Exercise, even for a few minutes, can aid in getting proper rest.