Home Health And Wellness Tips 5 Ways Pro Athletes Avoid Jet Lag—and You Can Too

5 Ways Pro Athletes Avoid Jet Lag—and You Can Too

8 min read

Man with jet lag in a new city

If you’ve ever traveled across time zones, you’re accustomed to the signs of jet lag—extreme fatigue, insomnia, problem concentrating—that always accompany travel.

Jet lag happens when your body’s circadian rhythm, or “body clock,” is out of sync with the time zone to which you’ve traveled, causing you to be sleepy when it’s time to be alert and awake when it’s time to sleep. That’s not excellent when it’s worthwhile to perform at a excessive degree—say, at a vacation spot race—and even when crossing a number of time zones for trip.

Elite athletes wrestle with jet lag all the time, however most have discovered to manage using a couple of tried-and-true methods to shortly reset their body clocks, says Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified sleep specialist who commonly counsels professional and newbie athletes on learn how to keep away from jet lag.

Below, a number of measures you possibly can take the subsequent time you travel.

5 Jet Lag Cures For Happier Travel

Move the clock. A couple of days earlier than departure, modify your bedtime by one or two hours, relying on the path by which you’ll be traveling, says Breus. If you’re touring eastward, go to bed one or two hours before your typical bedtime. If traveling westward, go to bed an hour or two later. This will get your physique used to sleeping closer to the time you’ll be sleeping in your new time zone. Set a brand new Bedtime Reminder in your Fitbit app so you understand when to start out winding down.

Time your meals. As quickly as you arrive in your new destination—or perhaps a few days before, if it is sensible—get in your destination meal schedule. “Your gut has its own circadian rhythm,” says Breus. A 2016 research found that delaying meals can even delay blood sugar rhythms—and blood sugar rhythms are a type of metabolic processes that impression your grasp physique clock. Alternatively, fasting for 12 to 16 hours earlier than arriving in your destination (right before and through the flight, as an example) might help shortly reset your physique clock by suspending your circadian rhythms, in line with a Harvard Medical School research.

Embrace the (flashing) mild. Exposure to mild—especially vibrant mild within the morning—might help your body recognize a change in time zones. But now research from Stanford University finds that brief flashes of sunshine at night time could also be much more efficient than continuous mild publicity at delaying the onset of sleepiness. The night time before you’re set to journey to a brand new time zone, simply set your telephone (or a light-weight machine) to emit a flashing mild when you’re sleeping for one hour at the time you’d normally get up, however in your future time zone. For occasion, in the event you’re flying from California to New York and you normally get up at 8 a.m., set the sunshine to go off at 5 a.m. to account for the three-hour time difference.

Try melatonin. Your physique naturally produces melatonin, a hormone that helps management your sleep cycle. For greatest results, take .5 to 1.5 mg of the supplement melatonin 90 minutes before you’re able to go to bed, recommends Breus. “Melatonin tells your internal clock that it’s bedtime,” he says.

Track your sleep. Before leaving and while in your new time zone, control how a lot you’re sleeping and when. If you’re utilizing a Fitbit system with heart price, you’ll have the ability to monitor how nicely you’re sleeping, in addition to how a lot time you’re spending in the numerous levels of sleep—mild, deep, and REM. If you find you’re not getting sufficient at night time, a strategically scheduled nap—ie: not too lengthy or late within the day—may help increase mood and performance.

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