Week 10: Jet Lag

Traveling across time zones? Jet lag is real, because it takes a while to adjust to the new rhythms of when to be active and when to rest. The good news is there are steps you can take before your trip, during your trip, and at your destination to minimize jet lag. Following these tips can help you feel more rested and have more energy when visiting a new time zone.
  • To conquer jet lag like a pro, start resetting your body clock in advance of your big trip by carefully timing not only your sleep, but also your light exposure, meals, and physical activity.
  • A jet lag calculator will provide detailed, customized instructions based on your own trip details and your regular bedtime.
  • In some cases, taking melatonin at certain times can help your body prepare for and adjust to new time zones. A jet lag calculator can help you determine the best timing for taking melatonin.
  • Make sure you get the right dosage; there’s no need for more than 3 milligrams, and time-release is preferred.
  • Note: melatonin may not be available in your country without a prescription.
  • While en route, set your watch for the time zone of your destination.
  • There’s no known diet that can prevent jet lag, but some research suggests that fasting during your flight can help minimize it. When you arrive at your destination, time your meals to match the new time zone. For example, if it’s morning when you land then have a nice breakfast!
  • At your destination, expose yourself to natural light each morning to help reset your body clock.
  • When it’s time to wind down and sleep, dim all lights and avoid any bright light.
  • Before bedtime, do something relaxing like taking a warm shower. This will signal to your mind and body that it’s time to wind down.
  • Remember to silence your electronics so you won’t be awakened by calls and texts from other time zones.
  • You can use the SleepScore App to keep tabs on how well you’re sleeping each night of your trip.
  • The Wind Down feature can help you relax at bedtime, and the Smart Alarm can help you wake up feeling refreshed.
  • Enjoy your travels and take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve learned about how to improve your sleep to live your best life.
  • Next week will be the final week of the Better Sleep Program. Thanks for taking the journey!
Handy Tip! No matter where you’re travelling, you can always take SleepScore with you to track and manage your sleep. Utilize features like the Smart Alarm to wake you at the optimal time so you wake up refreshed while on your travels!

Here are the answers to last week’s quiz!
Question 1: Advice for promoting good sleep while traveling includes:
Answer: Pack ear plugs and an eye mask
Question 2: True/False: When traveling, tiring yourself out during the day can help you sleep better in a new environment.
Answer: True
Question 3: What is the ideal length of time for a power nap, according to this week’s tips?
Answer: 20 minutes

Thank you to everyone who submitted their questions during the past 10 weeks! Here are a few more answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Q: What is your view on children’s sleep and possibilities to improve it (sleep training, etc.) to help the child sleep through the night?
A: We’re not specialists on children’s sleep. However, regular feeding and exposure to outdoor light (i.e., light in the morning and dim light/darkness at night) is optimal for the newborn to get in a good sleep wake rhythm. It is important that the child first establishes a sleep rhythm on his or her own. Only after that has been well established, might one try to implement sleep training. But there is no single age for that to happen. Nowadays there are some great tools available to get children more aware of bedtimes.
Q: How can you improve sleep in regard to the full moon or “Föhn” (weather condition in Switzerland: dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the downwind side of a mountain; some people say it causes ailments).
A: There is no impact of the full moon on sleep. One study found an effect, but nobody was able to replicate it. So it is a myth.
Temperature can have a big impact on sleep. It is preferred to sleep in an environment of around 18C. During sleep your body wants to cool down a bit. Hot weather prevents this cooling down process. Air-conditioning is preferred during a Föhn, but if that is not possible then a fan or a cool to lukewarm shower (but not cold) will help.
Q: What would you say are the keys to great sleep?
  • Keep a consistent/regular bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Schedule sufficient time for sleep. Most people need 8 hours, but be aware that 8 hours in bed does not equal 8 hours of sleep.
  • Do your best to make sure nothing can disrupt your sleep. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and silent, with clean air, and your mattress should support you and be comfortable at the same time.
  • Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals in the evening.
  • Get plenty of outdoor light and physical activity during the daytime.
  • Build in a wind down period in the evening to relax before going to bed and build a nightly pre-sleep routine.

What to expect during the initiative?

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