As a frequent traveler, I have often found myself awake for the day at 3 a.m., calculating what time it “really” is in the time zone I left and wondering how I am going to get through the day without a nap.
Jet lag is the result of the body's physiological response to adapt to a new time zone and is believed to be mainly due to sleep deprivation. For each time zone a traveler crosses, it takes one day for the body to adapt. Symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, decreased ability to focus, and irregularities in sleep and meal times.
The internet offers plenty of natural jet lag remedies, with varying amounts of evidence backing them up. Here are three simple techniques that can help you reduce and prevent jet lag:
1. Rest: Since jet lag is primarily caused by sleep deprivation, starting your trip well-rested is an important prevention technique.
2. Layover days: Another popular technique in reducing jet lag symptoms is to schedule a layover of a few days halfway through a long trip. This allows the body to adapt to the new time zone before you continue on to your final destination.
3. Melatonin: This natural supplement has the most evidence to support its use in assisting the body in adapting to the destination time zone and reducing the symptoms of jet lag. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body that is integral in regulating bodily rhythms. Supplements are normally taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Your doctor can help you determine appropriate dosing and other considerations for melatonin.
— Traci Pantuso, ND, MS, naturopathic doctor and resident, Bastyr Center for Natural Health