Don't let jet lag ruin your trip, follow these 6 smart tips

  • IANS, Los Angeles
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2014 15:22 IST

All of a sudden, you're wide awake in the middle of the night but you can barely stay awake for dinner. Yes, jet lag can nearly ruin a trip and totally throw you off but one can make it less terrible by following a few simple steps.

Sleep researchers have found ways to make jet lag less complicated. Here are a few ways to beat jet lag, or at least make it more tolerable:

1 Make sure you're well-rested before traveling: You're probably going to lose some sleep while traveling, so you may as well start off in a good place. No reason to add extra sleep deprivation on top of jet lag. And how do you know if you're sleep-deprived in the first place? If you regularly fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, that's a sign of sleep deprivation.

2 For longer trips, adjust your body's clock a bit ahead of time: If you're planning to be in your new time zone for a while, you can start the adjustment process before you even leave home. Start going to bed and getting up a little later or earlier, depending which direction you're traveling. Shift your light exposure accordingly, too. Seek out bright light when it would be daytime at your destination. Avoid it when it would be nighttime there

3 Drink plenty of water on the plane: Jet lag isn't the only reason people feel terrible after flying - the jet itself can take a toll. That's why researchers recommend drinking plenty of water before and during your flight , walking around during flights to improve circulation and possibly taking an aspirin the day before and the day of your journey (which should also improve circulation).

4 Adjust your eating and exercising, too: Some research has shown in mice that eating causes changes in insulin levels, which in turn influence the body's timekeeping. So try to adjust your meals to wherever you are. The same goes for exercise.

5 Melatonin might help: Traveling from west to east makes it more likely that you're going to have trouble falling asleep at night because your body doesn't think it's bedtime yet. If that's the case, consider taking a melatonin supplement right before bed.

6 Be careful with caffeine: Although you may be tempted to guzzle coffee or soda to stay alert, consuming caffeine later in the day may keep you up at night.

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