Tag Archives: Timezone Changes

Travel: Sleep advice for crossing timezones

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After the original post 5 Tips for better sleep on your cruise vacation, the question about how is the best way to deal with crossing over multiple timezones when traveling was posed. Dr. Robert Oexman gave us these tips:

1. You can start shifting your bed time and wake up time by 2 hours each day prior to your trip. Most of us do not have the luxury of doing this with work schedules.

2. Here is the most reasonable solution. Keep your regular bed time prior to your trip
a. One you arrive at your destination, and it is still daytime, get out and get plenty of sunlight. One of the strongest ways to reset our body clock is to expose ourselves to light; especially sunlight.
b. Exercise is another good way to reset our body clock. Walking outside is a great way to keep us alert and reset our body clock.
c. If at all possible avoid napping. If you do nap, keep it to 30 minutes or less. If you get sleepy go outside and walk.
d. The quicker you adapt all of your behaviors to the new time zone, and stick with it, the faster you will adapt.
e. Research has shown that melatonin can be taken to help with adapting to the new time zone. You can take it 30 minutes prior to the time you want to fall asleep. The dosage does not need to be more than one milligram.

3. Crossing time zones from East to West is easier than traveling West to East. When traveling West to East you usually travel at night. Get as much sleep as possible on the flight. Melatonin is a good solution for helping you get accustomed to the new time zone. You can begin taking it on the plane the first night. When traveling from East to West you usually travel during day light hours. Take a brief nap in the middle of the flight but try and stay awake most of the time. Once you are at home you can take melatonin at bed time to help you adapt to the new time zone.

Dr. Robert Oexman serves as chair of the Sleep To Live Institute’s Sleep and Wellness Board, and he received his Doctor of Chiropractic from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, and his Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University. His graduate studies include the science of ergonomics and sleep disorders medicine and the effect they have on quality of life.

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