Jet lag is avoidable

The problem is common, not cheap

So here’s some advice you can keep:


    Interferes with life’s mission

And steals hours of sleep.

At a social gathering today I was once again called on for medical advice.

Abrupt onset of vomiting and diarrhea is usually food poisoning, best managed with oral rehydration fluids like Pedialyte, Gatorade, and agua horchata (a sugared Mexican rice-based beverage).

Itchy, watery eyes with itchy watery nose and volley sneezes, without fever, indicate allergies, best managed with over- the-counter cetirizine or loratidine.

And a lot of people sleep poorly.  In short order I found myself lecturing an audience of seven about basic sleep management: nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, move the TV out of the bedroom, don’t exercise or use a computer within two hours of retiring, keep regular hours.  Don’t think your internal clock has more flexibility than it does.

The adolescents in the group do what adolescents in our culture usually do: stay up late and try to sleep in.  Things like work and school interfere with the lateness of how long they can sleep, so that, in the real world, they go around chronically sleep deprived.

Teenagers effectively move to a different time zone so they don’t have to deal with adults; no wonder they love vampire novels and films.

I explained that the internal clock can be reset forwards 2 hours a day but can only be reset back ½ hour a day.  Then I started to get to time management; the television for most Americans has taken a higher priority than sleep.

Nothing on TV merits the time it takes to watch it.  History and Discovery shows teach in an hour what can be learned in ten minutes of reading.  A half hour news show has 12 minutes of commercials and six minutes of news; weather and sports take the rest of the program .  In the final analysis if a person doesn’t have time to stay in bed till awakening rested, that person doesn’t have time for television.

I recommended two alarm clocks, one to go to sleep and one to get up.

The conversation turned to jet lag.  What should a person do who’s flying across an ocean?

Jet lag is a problem I’m really good with.  Give me the time the person takes off, the time they land, the flight duration and the time difference, and I can recommend a sequence of melatonin, zaleplon, Provigil, caffeine, hydration, exercise and meals that synchronizes the person’s internal clock with destination time within twenty-four hours of arrival. 

Four  years ago I went to Israel with a tour group.  The day after we arrived the rest of the group crashed before sundown, but, good to go, I went for a walk on the banks of the Jordan and heard the wolves howling in the Golan.  It was an intense solo experience but I would have preferred company.


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2 Responses to “Jet lag is avoidable”

  1. Tweets that mention Jet lag is avoidable « Walkaboutdoc's Blog -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Annie Lorin, Angela Lallen. Angela Lallen said: Jet lag is avoidable « Walkaboutdoc's Blog […]

  2. delayed2sleep Says:

    Good post. For selfish reasons, I wish you luck with this campaign: “Don’t think your internal clock has more flexibility than it does.” If everyone knew that, those of us with circadian rhythm disorders might be better understood and accommodated.

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