JET LAG AND HOW TO BEAT IT: Melatonin could be the key

With Easter here, some of you will be off on a longhaul flight. But how can you counter the jet lag that can spoil the first days of a holiday?

The prestigious research group, the Cochrane Centre, has carried out a thorough scientific study of the phenomenon, and has come up with a few provable remedies.

Perhaps the single best thing you can do is take the supplement melatonin on arrival – great if you happen to be visiting the United States or Singapore, where it is freely available as a dietary supplement, but it could be a problem if you live in, or you’re visiting, one of the many countries where it is controlled. It can’t be bought in the UK or other European countries, or Australia, for example, where it is treated as a medicine.

The Cochrane group reviewed 10 studies where melatonin was tested against a placebo. In eight of the studies, melatonin dramatically reduced the affects of jet lag.

Overall, take 2 to 5 mg of melatonin at bedtime when you arrive, and for up to four days after, the group advises.

Other tactics include the drinking of plenty of water and roughage, such as an apple, during the flight, and, on arrival, relax with a non-alcoholic drink, take a shower, and try and take a brief nap.

(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 326: 296-7).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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