How to Get Over Jet lag
If this summer has had you in travel mode, you may have already had a bout with jet lag and know that it’s really no picnic when trying to get back to work and life. Jet lag is extremely common when you travel over several time zones in a short amount of time. It can get your natural biological rhythm out of step with a sudden and new time zone. And oftentimes, when you get home you have the same problem. Luckily jet lag is a temporary issue, but when you’re in the thick of it, it’s certainly tiresome to say the least. Fortunately, there are some natural, worthwhile solutions for jet lag.
First off, if you haven’t boarded the plane yet, here are some great tips on how to avoid getting jet lag.
But if you’re doing some late-night-googling of how to get over your jet lag, look no further. Many of the things you should do before getting on the plane (such as moving around, drinking plenty of water) will help if you’re experiencing jet lag already, but another highly effective and natural solution is taking melatonin. It’s a natural way to nudge your pituitary gland back on your regular (or new-to-you) circadian rhythm.
How does it work?
Melatonin is actually a natural hormone made by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is located in the brain, and is inactive during the day and becomes active at night when the sun goes down. When the pineal gland is activated it produces melatonin, which is released into your blood stream. The sleep foundation describes how melatonin and sleep work is a great article here.
That’s why natural light therapy is also a good (and natural) approach when dealing with jet lag.
If you decide to take melatonin, here are some tips.
- Start low.
Most people don’t need much for melatonin to work effectively, and sometimes overdosing can have the opposite desired effect, so be cautious and take the lowest dosage you can. If you need more, work up slowing by .5mg.
- Take a few hours before you plan to go to bed.
Because melatonin is a natural way to signal the body it’s time for bed, it takes a little time for the signal work through. If you take melatonin right before bed, you probably won’t feel sleepy for a little while, so be sure to take it a couple hours before hand.
- Practice good sleep habits.
You’ve probably heard it all before but it’s worth mentioning again – turn off lights that will inhibit the effectiveness of melatonin. Because melatonin works to tell the body that it’s nighttime, using your tablet, watching TV or scrolling on your phone is only going to undo all the “nighttime” vibes you’ve been trying to signal to your body. Turn off electronics one to two hours before bed.
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