How to Recover from Jet Lag Using Melatonin

Rest before your flight to prevent jet lag; avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Rest before your flight to prevent jet lag; avoid caffeine and alcohol. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Your brain naturally produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates your sleep cycle. Flying through multiple time zones can interrupt this cycle, resulting in fatigue, stomach problems, irritability and trouble falling asleep. It may take your body two days to a week to recover, depending on your travel plans. Flying longer distances and traveling east may increase your recovery time to as many as two weeks. However, taking melatonin supplements may reduce your recovery time.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Travel itinerary
  • Melatonin supplement

Make an appointment with your doctor before your trip.

Make a list of all the medications and supplements you're taking.

Take your list of medications, as well as your travel itinerary, to your doctor's appointment. Ask her to evaluate your plans, medication and health to determine whether you should use melatonin supplements to recover from jet lag.

Ask her to recommend a dosage if she advises you to take melatonin supplements. She also can advise you about the best time of day to take the supplements, and when to stop taking them.

Ask your doctor for alternative recovery suggestions if she advises against using melatonin supplements.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also consider herbatonin which is extracted from plants.
  • Soy milk has a high level of tryptophan if you want a dairy replacement.
  • Often forcing yourself not to nap during your first day can ensure a better first night sleep after travel.
  • Avoid any chocolate in the cookies since that contains caffeine and inhibits sleep.

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