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Avoid Jet Lag With Viagra, Plus 4 Other Ways To Avoid The Side Effects Of Flying.
High-tech glasses, blue pills, exercise, and extra hydration are all possible ways for timezone jumpers to combat jet lag. Dr. Wendy Longo, CC by 2.0.
Planning on a business trip to Bangalore and back in just six days or less? Well, prepare yourself for a massive dose of jet lag, since it is widely believed it takes a full day to recover for each time zone crossed. While some travelers say there’s no cure for jet lag — you simply endure it best you can — others say a few small tweaks to your schedule will help. So here follows one high-tech solution plus a solo Pharma-fix, with a handful of old school, easy-does-it solutions.
Go Glasses.
Re-Timer glasses use light therapy to adjust the circadian rhythms of your body. Your circadian rhythm is naturally triggered by sunlight absorbed by the photoreceptors in your eyes. Naturally, jumping time zones interferes with your circadian rhythm and so your sleep patterns. Worn just like any pair of glasses, Re-Timer produces what the company advertises as a “100 percent UV-free green light” that can help adjust your circadian rhythm to your current zone. While they admittedly look more than a little dorky — and though Medical Daily has not had an opportunity to investigate — Re-Timer seems perfect for anyone who has the time, extra dollars, and inclination to try new tech. (Report back, please.)
Re-Timer Glasses Courtesy of Re-Time Pty Ltd.
Blue Pills.
Believe it or not, Viagra could help with the jet lag… if you are a rodent, that is. Dr. Diego Golombek and his colleagues at the National University of Quilmes in Buenos Aires, gave half their hamsters a dose of sildenafil (Viagra) and then pushed the laboratory’s daylight/nighttime schedule ahead by six hours. Those given the dose adjusted to the time shift 50 percent faster. Golombek believes sildenafil works on a molecule called cGMP, which is known to be present at higher levels during the day. Oddly, the Viagra treatment only worked when the lights were switched on early, not late — a one-direction fix. For this reason, Golombek hypothesizes different mechanisms slow down and speed up the body clock. While the research has never been duplicated in humans, a Skyscanner survey of 1,000 travelers found 11 percent said they’d tried Viagra as a jet lag cure, and nearly half of those respondents claimed it worked.
Water, Water, Water.
While you may want a glass of wine or a strong cup of coffee while flying the friendly skies, the effects of alcohol and caffeine at high altitudes will not serve you. Generally, these choices will amplify either your tiredness, your dehydration, or your generally whacked out sleep patterns. What beverage should you request from the cart instead? Water. Generally, the air inside a plane has a humidity level of just 10 to 20 percent compared to typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent. It is important, then, to stay hydrated while flying as a general antidote to all that ails you. It also helps you avoid being tempted by some other beverage.
Be Fully Rested And Arrive in Daylight.
Sounds like it would be a good thing to get a jump on your new schedule by staying up all night before you travel, but sorry, this just doesn’t work for most people. Travelers say it’s always best to begin a trip well-rested, and if possible, to get some shut-eye on the plane. Globetrotters also suggest a daytime arrival. Most of us, even those of us who travel often, feel some excitement when arriving someplace new, so it’s best to take advantage of all that energy with a sunshine arrival. You will feel like staying awake after hitting the ground anyway, so why not match your itinerary to this natural impulse?
No matter when you arrive, taking a walk or hitting the gym may help you ease your way into a new time zone. Again, an old study and a slew of hamsters: In 1987, Dr. Nicholas Mrosovsky of University of Toronto created an eight-hour time change for a group of hamsters. While half of the animals slept, the other half were forced to spin the exercise wheel. Happily, those who exercised had a dramatic payoff: They adjusted, on average, to their new time zone in just 1.5 days while the sleepers took 8.5 days to shift. While this experiment has not been duplicated in humans, exercise is always a good idea. Medical Daily saved the best tip for last.
One final note: Most travelers find flying in an eastward direction produces the worst jolt to the system. “West is best, east is a beast.” Keep this in mind and prepare. Bon voyage!