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How to avoid jet lag

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  July 16, 2008 12:00 PM

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I'll fess up: Jet lag does me in. I just got back from a quick trip to the Golden State. There's only a three-hour time difference, but it takes me about a week to get so I'm not still squinting quizzically through bloodshot eyes at the sun at 8:30 a.m. on the T.
I'm willing to try anything. Reader's Digest (I once had an English professor who likened the reading of digested material to the consumption of already digested material) has some tips. Most of them involve trying to get your body ready for the changes in advance; some focus on your general well-being; some are fabulously ridiculous. Here are a few (along with my own insights):
ACCLIMATE. If you’re going to be gone longer than a couple of days, begin acclimating your body to the new time zone by altering your eating schedule three days before your plane takes off -- cool, dinner at 3 sharp.
AVOID AIRLINE FOOD. See above. It seems if you're going to be tricking your body by eating closer to the new time zone you don't want at airline repast to mess up your schedule. Besides the food usually sucks anyway.
CHUG. Stay hydrated, but avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate you, mess up your internal clock, make you unpopular with the seatmate you have to climb over to get to the restroom, and exaggerate jet lag symptoms.
HIT THE LINGUINE. Or any other carb-dense food at dinner on the night before your flight. Recent research suggests carbs boost your ability to sleep — particularly when you fly westward. Wonder whether a Sam's summer ale would count. Carbs is carbs, right?
REFRIGERATE. Particularly if you need to sleep on the plane. I call this the suspended animation tip. Use earplugs to cut noise, an eyeshade to kill the light, and turn the air-conditioning valve on high. A lower temperature lowers your body’s core temperature and signals it’s time for sleep.
Here's the whole, unadulterated list.

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