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10 Simple steps to beat jet lag

This posted was inspired by a chat with a friend who had just flown back from Asia and was complaining about not being able to fall asleep until 6 am. Usually I like to explain why I suggest the things that I do, but this is just about what to do in order to more quickly adjust back onto your time zone.

  1. Eat a big breakfast in the morning with a lot of protein (at least 35 g), and then get some direct sunlight on your body after eating. Think dinner for breakfast.
  2. Get as much natural sunlight as you can during the daytime (without sunglasses).
  3. Go outside around sunset and look at the sun.
  4. Eat most of your food during the daytime, rather than at night. Especially avoid or reduce red meat intake after 7 pm, salad and some carbs would be okay.
  5. Dim the lights in your house after sunset. If you don’t have dimmers you can put these red or amber bulbs in your light fixtures.
  6. Put the free program Flux on your computer, and dim the computer screen after dark.
  7. Avoid watching TV at night, or if you do then wear blue blocker glasses. These amber glasses are probably the best $8 you could ever spend for your health,
  8. Wear blue blocker glasses anyways, when you’re at home after dark. If you wear glasses you may need these to fit over your lenses.
  9. Take a small dose of melatonin in the evening. I’m not a fan of taking this daily, but for recovering from jet lag it can work great.
  10. Sleep in a pitch black room. If you can’t, use a sleeping mask. Blackout curtains are great to have

Three bonus steps:
11. Set your alarm for a reasonable time in the morning and force yourself to get up. This time will be different for everyone but something which approximates your’ normal’ schedule.
12. Be careful with napping, limit naps to ~30 mins and keep them before 5 pm.
13. Bright light therapy in the morning, get the NatureBright lamp.

Remember, it will still take some time to adapt to your new time zones, but these simple steps can be very helpful in speeding up the process.

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Update – email feedback from a Muay Thai fighter I talked to about this in preparation for traveling from Los Angeles to a fight he had in Japan”I had a last minute opponent change and some last minute scrambling but end result was a win! I really noticed a difference after applying what I’ve learnt through our talks especially with the jet lag. With the use of the glasses, some extra planning before the flight and melatonin I was adjusted in 1 day which is a first for me.”..sunset

“I had a last minute opponent change and some last minute scrambling but end result was a win! I really noticed a difference after applying what I’ve learnt through our talks especially with the jet lag. With the use of the glasses, some extra planning before the flight and melatonin I was adjusted in 1 day which is a first for me.”

 

 

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