I am on a plane...a lot. I travel to NY and back to LA and on to Atlanta and then back to LA, only to realize that i'll be back on a plane to Boston next week. I have jet lagmania coupled with bouts of insomnia!! And I'm one of your expert bloggers.....help!! My luck arrives in the form of a medical journal that has decided to highlight the benefits of "light and melatonin" to help reset the body's clock.....in this case my body's clock.
So the recommendations suggest that if I am flying back to California from NY, I should seek morning light at the new location and avoid light in the evening. If I am flying from LA to Atlanta (or back to NY, i should avoid the morning light and embrace light in the evening. As an example, the article used a person flying from LA to South Africa, and he stayed out of afternoon sun (shutting the shades in his office) for a couple of days in the afternoon (till it was time to drive home at night) and when he arrived in S. Africa he awoke between 5 and 7 am (as the sun was coming up) and went outside to walk for about 30 minutes and within 2 days he was "adjusted."
Melatonin is another possible helper with jet lag and delayed sleep due to jet lag. Experts recommend geting a good dose of sunlight exposure in the am and then taking 0.5 mg of melatonin about 5-7 hours before habitual bedtime (or 12-14 hours before you want to wake in the new location). The combination of sunlight exposure/melatonin does seem to help many folks who fly on a regular basis.
Now there are other groups who suffer with circadian rhythm pattern issues like night shift workers. Experts recommend that when these workers come home, they use black out curtains and avoid sunlight as they drive home in the am (use sun glasses) and exposure to bright light should occur while on the job. Of course, everyone with these issues should watch alcohol and caffeine intake. I'm off to a local drugstore for melatonin!!
Published On: August 13, 2008