Don’t Lose Sleep Over Jet Lag

Does anyone really know what time it is?

A friend once said that jet lag is Mother Nature’s way  of letting men know what PMS feels like. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, altered mood, irritability and stomach problems, too.  The effects are generally worse for eastward travel and with increasing age.

So what’s the best way to deal with it? Try to leave home rested and not frazzled.  Use the time on the plane to rest up and begin to reset your biological clock. Once you are on the plane, change your watch and mentally put yourself into the time zone you are going to.

Travelers seem to feel better when they avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals while air-borne.  Many people find zolpidem (Ambien) or eszopiclone (Lunesta) , a prescription sleep aids, can help you sleep on the plane and correct jet lag once you land. It allows you to get about 6 hours sleep and awaken clear-headed. It’s not for everyone. Your travel health specialist or primary care provider can help you decide if it may help you.

Once you arrive,  it can take 24-48 hours for symptoms to diminish. Try to stay awake your first day and go to bed early that first night in your new time zone.  Zolpidem or eszopiclone can be used to help you stay asleep that first night. If you decide to use it, try a “test” dose at home first to see how your body reacts to it.

Preventing jet lag symptoms helps you land on your feet, clear-headed and ready to go.


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