With the travel season gearing up, I thought we’d take a look at a few natural cures for jet lag. So today we have an excerpt from the book Chinese Home Remedies: Harnessing Ancient Wisdom For Self-healing, reprinted with permission from New Pages Books.
What is it and What Causes It?
Tired yet unable to sleep; hungry yet unable to eat. Our bodies have a built-in biological clock to regulate the sleep/wakefulness cycle. It has trouble adjusting to the rapid time zone shifts made possible by air travel. The resulting fatigue and insomnia can sometimes take days or weeks to dissipate.
What Should You Do in Daily Life?
- Plan ahead to adjust to the change in time zones. Four days before the start of the trip, adjust schedule to fit to the new time zone.
- Practice so-called “light therapy,” which is spending some specific time in the sun to adjust your biological clock. If you fly from Lost Angeles to London, four days before you leave do more outdoor activities from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will gradually move your biological clock forward and change your bedtime from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. If you fly from New York to Hong Kong, do more outdoor activities after 2 p.m. Change your wakeup time from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- You can ease your transition by drinking coffee or tea at the time corresponding to the morning of the destination. Drink 1 cup of soymilk with honey at the time corresponding to the bedtime of the destination.
- Strictly follow the regular schedule at your destination: Go to bed on time. Use some sleeping herbs if necessary. When you are awake in the middle of the night due to jet lag, you need to remain lying. If you are bored, listen to relaxing music or the radio. By resting according to the schedule of the new time zone, you can make the transition easier.
- When you are feeling sleepy from jet lag, and it’s still not close to bedtime, start doing things that are guaranteed to keep you awake. This can be socializing, exercises, or other activities you enjoy.
What Shouldn’t You Do?
- Don’t eat spicy food in an airplane at night.
- Don’t drink alcohol.
- At your destination, when you sleep, put some dried chrysanthemum on your pillow. The herb helps to tranquilize you.
- At your destination, apply a few drops of jasmine oil on your temples to help you go to sleep.