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"The Art and Science of Jet Lag" series

How and why they work

Exposure to Bright Light

Bright light exposure can strongly influence your body clock.(1)(2) When scheduled for exposure, the light source should mimic outdoor daylight; the brighter the better. Follow the bright light exposure patterns for two days after arrival. When outside during 'Avoid Bright Light' periods, wear sunglasses.

Altering Sleep Patterns

The StopJetLag plan considers your flight complexities, relative to your sleep patterns, to help you avoid sleep deprivation by determining the best time to ensure 'core sleep' periods. Following the guidelines for rest and activity periods will make it easier to transition to the right sleep schedule at your new destination. Ear plugs and a sleep pillow can help you sleep or rest more comfortably.

Meals: What to eat, when

StopJetLag uses the naturally occurring fluctuations in your body's energy reserves by scientifically scheduling light meals and large meals to help you switch your sense of time to a new pattern. Here's why. High-protein meals signal your body's active phase. High-carbohydrate meals tell your body when it's time to wind down. That's why many recommendations include eating a larger, high protein breakfast on destination time to signal a pattern change.

Caffeine do's and don'ts

Caffeine can also affect your body clock re-synch. Ingesting caffeine results in a short period of stimulation followed by a drop in your glycogen (blood sugar) level. Proper timing and minimal use of caffeine in the days prior to a time zone shift is important. Caffeine is in many products and a chart is included in your StopJetLag Plan, as well as alternate instructions for non-caffeine drinkers.

Melatonin Supplements (Optional)

The effects of melatonin supplements as defense against jet lag have been well documented(3)(4) and our recommendations reflect the latest scientific research. Consult your physician before using melatonin supplements if you have an autoimmune condition, depressive disorder, are pregnant or nursing, or under 12 years of age. The recommended dose of melatonin is 3 to 5 mg. A sleep mask, which simulates darkness, is helpful in natural melatonin production.

(1) Eastman CI, Burgess HJ. How to travel the world without jet lag. Sleep Med Clin 2009;4:241-55.

(2) Czeisler, C. A., R. E. Kronauer, J. S. Allan, J. F. Duffy, M. E. Jewett, E. N. Brown, and J. M. Ronda. Bright light induction of strong (type 0) resetting of the human circadian pacemaker. Science 244: 1328–1333, 1989.

(3) Arendt J, Aldhous M, Marks V. Alleviation of jet lag by melatonin: preliminary results of controlled double blind trial. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:1170

(4) Lewy AJ, Bauer VK, Ahmed S, et al. The human phase response curve (PRC) to melatonin is about 12 hours out of phase with the PRC to light. Chronobiol Int 1998;15: 71–83.

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