Online Sleep Diary
Wednesday, December 19th

Instructional Resources

Tips for Recovering from Jet Lag

Most people find it easier to stay up late than to go to bed early; therefore travelling east (which requires you to go to bed at an earlier time) is generally more difficult than travelling west. There are some strategies that you can use, however, to help recover from jet lag.

  • Before you leave, you can start adjusting gradually to the new time zone by waking up a little earlier or later every few days. A good general guideline is to adjust your wake-up time by 15 minutes every three to five days; you should adjust the time you wake up first, rather than the time you go to sleep.
  • If you will be arriving at your destination in the morning or the early afternoon, try to sleep on the airplane to be more alert and awake when you arrive. If you will be arriving in the evening or at night, try to stay awake on the airplane, so that you will be sleepy on arrival.
  • If you arrive at your destination in the morning, try to stay awake all day. Avoid napping. This will help you fall asleep at your usual time in the new time zone.
  • If you arrive at your destination in the evening, try keeping a regular evening routine. Go to bed at your usual sleep time, but if you can not fall asleep get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Do not lie in bed trying to "force" yourself to sleep.
  • In the morning, get up at your usual wake up time, regardless of how you have slept. Bright light and exercise in the morning will help reset your internal clock; an early morning walk is an excellent way to accomplish this.
  • Eat small meals through the day while you are adjusting to your new mealtimes. If your regular dinner time occurs in the middle of the night in your new time zone, have a snack before going to bed.

Remember that it can take many nights to adjust to a change in time zone. If your trip is shorter than 48 hours, you may find it useful to schedule meetings and work according to your home time zone.


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