Health Watch — Summer Travel: Jet Lag

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about summer travel to faraway places, such as going to China for the Olympics. Jet lag can put a damper on the early days of a vacation when you’re several time zones away from home. You may have trouble sleeping or waking up when you’re supposed to because your body clock hasn’t adjusted to the new time.

Dr. John Herman, a sleep disorders expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says a combination of bright light and melatonin can help reset your body clock. First, take 6 milligrams of melatonin when it’s 11:30 p.m. in your destination’s time zone. As soon as you arrive, try to get out in the sunlight. Then one hour before bedtime at your destination, take another 3 milligrams of melatonin. If you wake up during the night, don’t turn on a light.

Then reverse the process before you go home, using your home time zone as the destination.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/sleep to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in
sleep and breathing disorders.

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July 2008

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