A recent Italian study found Pine trees have yet another benefit beyond populating holiday homes and providing forest backdrops – taking pine bark extract for a few days before flying may reduce the severity and duration of jet lag. Participants in the study scored 56 percent lower on a jet lag measurement scale 48 hours after their flight as compared to the control group.
Headed somewhere exotic in the New Year? If you’re not so inclined to run to the nearest apothecary for some pine bark extract, here are five more conventional ways to avoid or beat jet lag the next time you fly:
- Think ahead. If you’re about to depart on a trip for anything longer than a week, try setting back (or forward) your internal clock a few days before take-off. Head to bed an hour or two closer to your destination’s time zone and adjust your eating schedule as needed. Taking baby steps towards acclimating to a new time zone can help make the transition easier.
- Mimic natural sleeping conditions. When on an overnight flight, pick up an eye mask to block out the light, and turn up the air vent – cooler temperatures signal the body for sleep. You don’t have to freeze to get the effect though, make yourself comfortable by bringing along a cozy blanket and pillow.
- Bring your running shoes. If you’re not into running, head down to the hotel exercise room or out for a long walk. Making time for at least 30 minutes of exercise while you’re traveling can help tucker you out and allow you to adjust and sleep better.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. As tempting as it is to knock back a couple of drinks on a flight, it’s generally a good idea to avoid them. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, disrupt your ability to sleep well and can exacerbate jet lag symptoms. Staying hydrated with water is really your best bet.
- Eat carbs pre-flight and protein when you land. A high-carb dinner can cause insulin levels to spike and consequently blood sugar to drop, leading to sleepiness, while a high-protein breakfast can boost your energy levels to get a bright-eyed start to the day.