A Guide To Beating Jet Lag

An erratic sleep schedule isn’t just annoying; it’s also unhealthy. Few things can mix up your sleep schedule faster than a jet trip to a new time zone. 

We talked to the director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Center, Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, to get an expert’s view on jet lag and what you can do to overcome it.

Dr. Gamaldo notes that the human body maintains a natural period when it’s inclined to sleep, called the circadian window. This window usually falls between 11 PM and 7 AM. Any long trip, especially one that crosses more than two time zones, can upset your circadian window and disrupt your regular sleep cycle.

Here are the most effective steps you can take to reduce the impact of jet lag:

1) Use The Two Day Rule

If your whole trip is only going to last two days, don’t bother trying to align your internal clock with local time. Dr. Gamaldo notes that it will take you about two days to fully adjust to a new time zone, so trying to shift your circadian window for a short trip will just make it harder to resume your home sleep schedule when you return. She suggests scheduling as many of your activities during your home waking hours as possible on short trips.

2) Shift Your Window Before Traveling

You can prepare yourself for the time shift before your trip. Take three nights before your flight to change your bedtime. Make sure you have a comfortable bedroom conducive to sleep and clutter free, find the best furniture stores for a perfect relaxing space. Move it up or back as required to match your destination. Shift your bedtime one hour on the first night, two on the second, and three on the third.

3) Get Into The Local Rhythm

Be ready to get into the local schedule as soon as you get off the plane. Dr. Gamaldo says that if you’re landing in daylight, you want to be awake like the locals. Get as much sleep as you can on your flight. If you’re landing at night, do the opposite: Stay awake on the plane and sleep when you arrive.

4) Manage Your Sunlight Exposure

Dr. Gamaldo suggests donning a pair of sunglasses if you arrive early in the morning. Daylight is a key trigger for your circadian cycle; your body expects to encounter sunlight in the hours it considers afternoon and late morning. When you travel to the west, Gamaldo advises you to get outdoors before sunset to further align your sleep rhythm with the local hours.

5) Kick-Start Your Local Morning

The best way to convince your body that morning has arrived is to heat it up, get it moving, and get outside. Dr. Gamaldo recommends a warm shower to raise your body temperature and signal to your body that it’s time to get active.

6) Consider Using Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Your body begins releasing extra melatonin about two hours before it’s ready to sleep. To encourage an earlier bedtime when you’re traveling, you can use supplemental melatonin to encourage drowsiness. Melatonin supplements are available without a prescription, usually in dosages of no more than 10 milligrams.

Gamaldo warns against thinking of melatonin as a cure-all for jet lag and other sleep problems, though. She notes that all of the research indicates that daylight exposure is more effective at bringing your body’s clock in line with the local schedule.

Share this story, choose your platform!

About the author:

Leave a Comment

The Best Ways To Protect Your SkinAnd Eyes When Outdoors

Spending time outside is great for our health. You breathe fresh air, exercise, and feel good. It’s important to have some hobbies or sports that you regularly take part in outside. But the sun can harm your skin and eyes if you’re not careful. Protecting yourself from the sun is important. If you don’t, your

Read More »


Life is about progression, moving forward, and taking decisive actions toward our objectives. It’s about reaching milestones that resonate within us and illuminate the path to our dreams. Milestones can differ from person to person and from culture to culture. However, there are a few significant events that are universally accepted as major life milestones.

Read More »

Expert Dental Care To Crows Nest Locals: Your Smile Deserves The Best

Maintaining good oral health is integral to overall well-being, and accessing expert dental care is integral in creating a radiant smile. Crows Nest residents are fortunate to have a variety of dental services available to them – this blog post will discuss their importance as well as highlight what expert dental care to Crows Nest

Read More »

The Importance Of Regular Check-Ups At A Skin Cancer Clinic

Regular check-ups at a skin cancer clinic are crucial for early detection, prevention, and effective treatment of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer globally, but with timely intervention, it is highly treatable. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of regular check-ups at a skin cancer clinic like

Read More »

5 Things You Should Know About Boarding Schools

Imagine you are the admissions officer for a top university. You have one place left, but two applications on your desk: One is a straight-A student and decorated athlete who captained their debate club to the national championships The other is B-student with no leadership experience from a top boarding school Who would you prefer?

Read More »

How Do Painkillers Work for the Brain?

Painkillers are often used to cause vast and severe pain relief. They can be taken orally, via injection, or through inhalation. There are different types of painkillers based on their effect on the body. Some of these painkillers are opioids and narcotics. These pills have a depressant effect on the central nervous system that blocks

Read More »