We received many interesting questions about sleep in response to Dr. Valencia Porter’s article on the keys to restful sleep in our July newsletter. One reader asked about the problem of jet lag. Here is Dr. Porter’s response:
Thanks to the advances of modern aviation, it is possible for us to cross multiple time zones in a short period of time, which can disrupt our normal sleep patterns. For frequent travelers, this may cause major sleep issues. Here are some tips that I have found to be helpful:
1.) When starting your trip (or even before you leave) re-set your watch to the time of your destination location and shift your activities to reflect that time zone. For instance, if you are traveling somewhere and in that location it is 2 in the morning, then you should be sleeping. If it is 9 a.m. in your destination, you should be awake.
2.) To help yourself shift to a sleeping state, you might consider taking the supplement melatonin before bedtime. Melatonin is one of the body’s way of signaling the shift from day to night. Doses range from 0.3 mg to 6 mg (I find 3 mg to be helpful in most cases); however, check with your healthcare provider before using this or any other nutritional or herbal supplement.
3.) Guided imagery or self-hypnosis can also be helpful for inducing the sleep state, and there are a number of wonderful CDs and MP3s available online.
4.) When we travel, our Vata dosha tends to become imbalanced, so follow some Vata-balancing practices to ground yourself during your travels. For example, bring along a small container of essential aromatherapy oil such as citrus, pine, lavender, or vanilla. Find more Vata-balancing tips here.
5.) Deepak Chopra, who spends a lot of time flying throughout the world, recommends that during your flight, you drink an amount of water that equals half of your weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 pounds, for example, you would want to drink 80 ounces of water.
Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.