NEW YORK — You made it to Paris, but instead of climbing the Eiffel Tower, you’re passing out in your soufflé. Blame jet lag, when your body’s circadian rhythm (its expected sleep and wake times) is out of sync with your new location, leaving you with brain fog or insomnia.
Here are some tricks to help you get your zip back quicker.
SHIFT BEFORE YOU GO. The time differential and the direction you are traveling contribute to jet lag, said Dr Jay Olson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
He said that traveling westward, when you need to stay up and wake up later to match the new time zone, is easier for most people than traveling eastward, when you do the opposite.
For shorter trips, make a gradual one-hour shift per day for the number of time zones you’ll cross.
HARNESS THE POWER OF LIGHT. Bright light helps keep our internal clock in sync with the outside world. For longer trips, seek out or avoid bright light at specific times.
Starting a few days before your trip, gradually shift the light and dark times of your origin toward that of your destination, using dark glasses, sunlight or other light sources.
CONSIDER MELATONIN. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep earlier in anticipation of traveling east, Dr Vishesh Kapur, the founder of the University of Washington Sleep Medicine Center, suggests taking one milligram of melatonin about four hours before bed, up to three days before the trip.
Melatonin is a substance that is produced naturally in the body as night falls, signaling that it is time to go to sleep.
GRAB A QUICK NAP. If you’re feeling drained as your body adjusts, take a 20-minute snooze, said Dr Kapur. If you nap longer than that, the brain fog may worsen or you may have trouble falling asleep at night.
REFRESH WITH A LAYOVER SHOWER. If available, a spritz at the airport between long flights can work wonders for a tired body.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE LAG. If you expect to be up super late or early as your body adjusts, plan ahead. Early in the trip, you may have the most energy for a visit to places like the Patpong Night Market in Bangkok, for example, or the early-morning tuna auction at the Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.