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about Vreni Gurd








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about Vreni Gurd

NLC Resources



Jan. 1, 2006: Other - Reducing Jet Lag

Jet lag is an obvious example of how primal our connection is to the cycles of day and night, and how circadian-rhythm disruption effects our life.  There is a fair bit of research that supports the notion that circadian rhythm stress, mostly due to staying up too late, is a primary factor in the major diseases that affect people today, but that is for another day.

Normally it takes about one day for each hour of time change to adjust to the time zone of the destination, but the adjustment can be accelerated with a little planning.  If you are traveling west, starting a few days prior to your travel, stay up a couple of hours past your usual bedtime, and expose yourself to bright lighting through the afternoon and evening.  If possible, try and sleep in a few extra hours in the morning in a darkened room.  If you are flying during the day, eat your meals at the appropriate meal times for your destination, and try not to sleep on the plane.  Hopefully then you will have no trouble sleeping the evening you have arrived at your destination.  Often it is the second and third day after arrival that is tougher to handle.  Try to avoid afternoon naps, and instead, use bright lights to help you stay awake until evening.  Light exercising in the late afternoon or early evening may be helpful in entraining your internal circadian clock.

If you are traveling east, beginning a few days prior to your travel, go to bed a couple of hours earlier and get up a couple of hours earlier.  If you think you may have difficulty getting to sleep, taking melatonin around 6 or 7pm may be helpful.  Keep the evening light very low.  Candles may be a good option, and don't use the TV or computer after 6pm!  Exercise at sunrise for a few days prior to departure.  On the plane, eat your meals at the appropriate time for the destination, and only sleep if it is night time at your destination.  Once you have arrived, keeping evening lights low, taking melatonin if necessary, and going to bed around 10pm local time will be helpful.  Doing some light exercise first thing in the morning in bright lights or better yet in bright sunshine, and avoiding naps will also help you adjust more quickly to the new time zone.  Happy travels!

Maund, Chris, Sleep, Biological Rhythms, and Electromagnetic Fields, Part III  Online, www.chekinstitute.com, April 4, 2001