Expert Advice

Is it possible to fight jet lag without drugs?

Is it possible to fight jet lag without drugs?
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YES. Start by adopting the schedule of the new time zone and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. Go to bed earlier by one hour per time zone each night. For example, if you’re flying coast to coast (a three-hour time difference), go to bed one hour earlier three days before you leave, two hours earlier two days before, and three hours earlier the night before. (Reverse this pattern for the return leg.) Or try these supplements:

Melatonin. Start with 1 mg of melatonin the first day of your trip and go up to 3 mg if needed. If you get groggy, decrease the dose by 0.5 mg to 1 mg the next night. Try Melaton-1 by Thorne (thorne.com).

Valerian. A valerian supplement induces sleep quickly. For tinctures, try 10 ml in one dose at bedtime. For capsules, use 300 to 500 mg. Look for Sedaplus capsules by Thorne; they combine valerian with other sedatives, like hops and chamomile.

Rescue Remedy. Taken as a spray or tincture, Rescue Remedy (rescueremedy.com) uses homeopathic dosages of five different flower essences to soothe stress. Add four drops to water, juice, or tea, or place drops directly on or under your tongue.

Poppy tea. Before bedtime, drink a cup of California poppy leaf tea (Eschscholzia californica) or chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita) to subdue nervous irritability.

Massage. Rub your feet at bedtime with warm lavender oil or schedule a massage for your arrival. Research has shown that massage helps regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
—Colleen Murphy, N.D., Natural Medicine Works, San Francisco, Calif.