Jordan Stern, MD
BEATING JET LAG THIS SUMMER.Maximize your vacation fun by minimizing the effects of jet lag during your vacation
Follow these easy recommendations, and consider picking up some of Dr. Stern's favorite new (high and low) tech to help you cope with jet lag.
1. Traveling East? (say NY to Europe?)
Pick a flight that leaves as late as possible (10-11 pm or later), so you have time to sleep on the plane and wake up at your body's biological wake-up time. Eat before you get on the plane, and make sure you have ear plugs and an eye mask ready to start sleeping even before takeoff. Minimize alcohol, and maximize hydration. Choose a seat away from the galley where the staff tends to talk loudly and passengers tend to line up for the toilets.
2. Melatonin The drug of choice for jet lag!
Melatonin is the body's sleep hormone. It starts rising in our bloodstream as soon as the sun starts to set. The blue daytime light that enters the eyes stimulates receptors on the retina that help prevent the production of Melatonin during the day and controls our urge to stay awake. As blue light from the daytime sky turns to yellow, orange, and eventually disappears at night, Melatonin levels start to increase in our bloodstream and make us sleepy. Make sure to get some direct sunlight at your arrival to get energized on your first day (assuming you're traveling East). A small 2 mg dose of Melatonin 2 hours before your local bedtime will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Melatonin preparations vary widely in quality—our favorite is REMfresh, which has been found in medical studies to provide an accurate dose and also a continuous delivery to help you stay asleep.
3. BLUE Light
In the morning, getting that dose of blue light delivered to the eye will help you wake up and get going. A Belgian company has developed a clever light tech that applies blue light to the lower part of the eye without the need to stay in one place staring at a light source (assuming you don't have access to natural sunlight). They call it Luminette. It is portable and comfortable and can be used even if you wear glasses. The company has developed the product based on medical research conducted at the University of Liège in Belgium.
Finally, be a smart napper! Short naps can give you the boost you need without making you feel groggy. Try to limit your naps to 20 minutes, as you may need several a day for the first few days. Remember not to nap too close to bed time or you won't be able to fall asleep. Usually your last nap should be at least 6 hours before your bedtime.
For More Information See a Sleep PRO
Have an online consultation with a BlueSleep Specialist if you need more sleep information for your next vacation; or if you need help with your bed partner's snoring.
Have a great summer vacation!