Holiday Health Hazards
Holiday hazard: JET LAG After you cross time zones, it takes a few days for your body’s internal clock to adjust to the new light/dark schedule, especially if you’ve traveled west to east. The resulting jet lag can make you feel tired (but unable to sleep), headachy, disoriented and dizzy.
To the rescue
When you arrive at your destination, try to get on the local eat/sleep schedule, spend some time in sunlight (it helps reset your clock) and exercise to improve sleep quality.
Eat a high-protein breakfast and minimize your intake of caffeine, alcohol and simple carbs, all of which further disrupt sleep.
Melatonin helps reset your internal clock; take 5 milligrams right before your new bedtime on the first night, and 1 to 3 milligrams for two more nights.
Try: Natrol Melatonin ($8 for 180 1-milligram tablets; walgreens.com). Use a combination “no jet lag” homeopathic formula (follow package directions) or take individual remedies for specific symptoms. For exhaustion, take arnica, says Karen Barnes, N.D., author of Naturopathic First Aid (Ccnm Press). If you feel nauseous, weak or trembling, take cocculus; gelsemium helps with weakness, dullness, dizziness and drowsiness. Take the 30c potency twice daily.
Try: No-Jet-Lag Homeopathic Jet Lag Prevention Tablets ($11 for 32; drugstore.com); Nelsons Arnica 30c ($6 for 84; drugstore.com); Gelsemium 30c ($9 for 160; 1-800homeopathy.com); Cocculus 30c ($9 for 160; 1-800homeopathy.com). To tame the tension, muscle fatigue and irritability often associated with jet lag, take skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) tincture, suggests Los Angeles herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford. Stir 1 teaspoon into 1 cup of water and drink every two hours as needed.
Try: Skullcap Liquid Extract ($11 for 1 ounce; wisewomanherbals.com). McQuade Crawford helped develop this sparkling beverage with 30 milligrams of caffeine from yerba mate, antioxidants and invigorating herbs like ginseng and ginger; drink up to three a day.
Try: Solixir Awaken ($25 for 12 12-ounce cans; vitaminshoppe.com).
Holiday hazard: HANGOVER See What are some natural hangover remedies?