Jet Lag

Traveling at great speed over long distances through several time zones can cause what we refer to as jet lag. It will be necessary to reset your sleep clock upon arrival at your destination. You should force your body to accommodate to the new time as soon as possible. Each time you board a plane, reset your watch for the destination time. A good trick to remember (but unfortunately not one accommodated by all airline schedules) is ?Travel East ? travel early, Travel West ? travel late.?

For eastward travel, your day will be shortened by several hours. Remember to go to sleep earlier than you would during a normal 24-hour day. Several days prior to departure it may be helpful to begin retiring an hour earlier than usual in the evening and arising an hour earlier in the morning. When crossing six or less time zones, you should get a few hours of morning outdoor light for the first few days after arrival. Try to expose yourself to at least as many hours of light as the number of time zones you have crossed.

If you are traveling westward your travel day will be longer. Try to stay awake until a normal time for your new environment, then arise the next morning at a reasonable hour. Expose yourself to a few hours of late afternoon light on the day of arrival and for a few days thereafter. The more time zones you cross, the more hours you should spend in light.
In combating jet lag, the more time you stay outdoors during the first several days after arrival, the easier it will be to adjust to the new time zone.  This method works regardless of whether the sun is shining.

In addition, you may wish to manipulate your diet by alternating feast and fast days with the Jet Lag Diet. Although rather cumbersome and without scientific evidence to support its usefulness, some have found the diet helpful. When traveling east to west, begin the diet cycle two days prior to arrival at your destination. When traveling west to east, begin the diet cycle four days prior to your arrival. Determine what the breakfast time will be at your destination.

  • Day 1 - FAST: High protein breakfast and lunch; high carbohydrate dinner.
    No cola, coffee, tea or caffeine-containing beverages from 3-5 p.m.
  • Day 2 - FAST: This is a travel day if traveling west. Three light meals of salad, fruit and juices. No tea, coffee, cola or caffeine-containing beverages from 3-5 p.m. You can have decaffeinated beverages. No alcohol on the flight.
  • Day 3 - FAST: High protein breakfast and lunch; high carbohydrate dinner.
    No cola, coffee, tea or caffeine-containing beverages from 3-5 p.m.
  • Day 4 - FAST: This is a travel day if traveling east. Caffeinated beverages only in the morning. If the flight is long enough, sleep until breakfast at your destination then eat a high protein breakfast (steak, sausage, egg). No alcohol on flight.

The hormone melatonin is available in health food stores for the management of jet lag. Since natural melatonin released in our bodies is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, many have found these pills helpful in adjusting to new time zones. Unfortunately, since melatonin is classified as a nutritional supplement and has not been FDA approved, we do not recommend its use. Its manufacture and preparation have not been standardized.