Different time zones can confuse your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm and disturb your sleep. The more time zones you traverse, the more challenging it can be for your body to adjust to the new local time. Also, your chances of experiencing sleep difficulties are greater when you travel from west to east, because it’s harder to move your sleep time earlier than it is to delay it. However, here are some ways that could help you adjust:
- Try preparing yourself for the new time zone beforehand. For three to five days before your trip, shift your bedtime and awakening time either earlier or later each day to help your body’s internal clock move closer to your destination’s time zone. You could also reach a day before if have any important work commitement or other occasion, just gives you a little cushion period to rest up.
- Expose yourself to sun light. If it’s daylight when you arrive at your destination, take a brisk walk outdoors to shift your body clock to the new time zone. Do your best to avoid taking a nap (or at least limit it to 20 minutes). During your first few days there, try to get 15 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight exposure which will help you adjust fast.
- If it’s nighttime when you arrive, dim your lights, eat lightly, and engage in relaxing activities to set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Train your body to believe it is nighttime because it will naturally not respond that way. Bring an eye mask and earplugs in case you need them to create the right setting.
- Take melatonin if still finding it hard. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid, helping you fall into the new routine. Taken a few hours before your desired bedtime may help sync your body’s circadian rhythm to the new time zone. It can be especially helpful for adults who are crossing five or more time zones because it can help put to snooze at the right time. But ofcourse, don’t take too many or for too long and consult a doctor if jet lag acute.