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Coping with jet lag

06/16/2009 - News

Coping with jet lag

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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A few simple tips may help you to get the better of jet lag.

Air travel is stressful at the moment - delays, security concerns and uncertainty, all of which may make jet lag worse. Flying through time zones upsets your body clock and this is what produces the symptoms of jet lag - irritability, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. Stress, along with dehydration and dry air, can make jet lag worse. If you've been used to taking plenty of water on the aircraft with you to combat dehydration that may no longer be possible for security reasons. So Mayo Clinic tips for combating jet lag and making air travel easier are timely.

If you can schedule your flight to arrive mid to late afternoon, rather than early morning, jet lag will take less of a toll. Avoid sleeping pills because they may make you drowsy long after your intended sleep time and only make jet lag worse. Many people swear by melatonin to synchronize your body clock but the evidence on its effectiveness in jet lag is mixed. If you do decide to give it a try, be sure to tell your doctor if you are on other medications to ensure there will not be interactions between these and melatonin.

Source
Mayo Clinic Health Letter August 2006

Created on: 08/15/2006
Reviewed on: 06/16/2009

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