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Jet Lag

airplane and clock

Jet lag can be a problem for travelers who are crossing several time zones. Although it is not a serious condition, jet lag can make it hard for you to enjoy your vacation for the first few days. For business travelers, who may be expected to travel long distances and start work immediately after arrival, jet lag can affect mood, ability to concentrate, and physical and mental performance. Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize the effects of jet lag.

Before Travel

  • Exercise, eat a healthful diet, and get plenty of rest.
  • A few days before you leave, start going to bed an hour or two later than usual (before traveling west) or earlier than usual (before traveling east) to shift your body’s clock.
  • Break up a long trip with a short stop in the middle, if possible.

During Travel

man yawning
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • On long flights, get up and walk around periodically.
  • Sleep on the plane, if you can.

After You Arrive

  • Don’t make any important decisions the first day.
  • Eat meals at the appropriate local time.
  • Spend time in the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water, and avoid excess alcohol or caffeine.
  • If you are sleepy during the day, take short naps (20–30 minutes) so you can still sleep at night.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking medicine to help you sleep at night.
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