Your Body Clock And Melatonin
How does your body know it's time to go to sleep? Your brain actually secretes a chemical called melatonin that for many starts rising around 6PM, reaches a peak around 4AM, and returns to baseline at sunrise. According to Dr. Matthew Walker, author of "Why we Sleep", "melatonin helps regulate the timing of when sleep occurs by systemically signaling darkness throughout the body". This cycle occurs approximately every 24 hours and is the reason people's sleep patterns are fairly consistent.
How Jetlag Can Happen
Suppose you planned a trip from the western United States leaving around noon and flew to Europe. Most nonstop flights are approximately 12 hours. You arrive in Europe and your biologic clock thinks it is midnight but is really 9 AM in Europe -- hence the term jet lag. Common symptoms might include daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headache, indigestion, and irritability. When nighttime finally arrives one experiencing jetlag can find it difficult to initiate or maintain sleep because the internal body clock believes it is daytime. How long will it take you to adjust to the new time zone? It may take a day for every hour of time difference to adjust.
Tips To Counter Jet Lag
In preparation for your next travel, consider these ideas that may help lessen its effects:
- Get plenty of sleep before you leave.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as both may interfere with your sleep.
- Stay well hydrated during the flight and after you arrive.
- Make an effort to adapt to the new time zone by sleeping during your flight if it is nighttime at your destination.
- Use an eye mask and earplugs or headphones to block out light and noise.
- If it's daytime when you arrive at your destination, engage in a safe outdoor activity once there, like a leisurely stroll, to introduce sunlight that can help you regulate your circadian rhythms to your new surroundings and help you resist the urge to sleep.
A Melatonin Supplement May Help
A 2009 research review  looking at the results from 6 small studies and 2 large studies suggests that melatonin supplements might ease jet lag. Melatonin is recommended to be taken only for short periods of time. Consider taking a melatonin-containing supplement such as Sleep Spray two hours before bedtime at your destination and plan on sleeping more than eight hours. Consider tracking your sleep with Sleep Watch to monitor whether your approach is working for you.
We're making Sleep Spray available through Sleep Watch because we tried it and we liked it. As an oral spray, it has the potential to exhibit good bodily absorption. Moreover, in addition to melatonin, Sleep Spray contains a blend of other scientifically studied ingredients that may also help promote sleep. One Sleep Spray bottle contains a 30-Day supply.