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Avoiding jet lag.

Ideally, you should come back from a vacation feeling refreshed, even invigorated, but no matter how long you lollygag poolside with cucumber-covered eyes, one thing can get in the way of your best-laid plans: the ugly specter known as jet lag. According to NASA, you need one day to regain normal rhythm and energy levels for every one-hour time zone crossed. So a seven-hour time difference means it will take seven days for you to feel normal again. Most of us can't afford a day of disorientation, let alone seven, so learn how to lessen the lag.

1 Lay off the booze and coffee and drink water and fruit juices while in flight. (Let's be honest, muddy airplane coffee is never magically replaced with mouthwatering Folgers Crystals.)

2 Be creative with your onboard exercises: instead of just flipping your fingers through a bad airline magazine, rotate your ankles, flex your buttocks while seated, or even power walk through the aisles as an excuse for visiting that cute guy or gal sitting in seat 31A.

3 Many people swear that taking melatonin will re-establish normal schedules and rhythms, but there is much debate over whether melatonin helps or hinders jet lag recovery. Other sleeping aids definitely do help--Ambien promotes up to six hours of sleep, perfect for transcontinental trips.

4 Get plenty of sleep the night before your flight. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you'll catch a few z's while "reclining" in that comfy, coach seat.

5 Exposing yourself to sunshine helps readjust your internal clock. Set your watch to local time and eat and sleep according to it. We've all traveled with those people who seem fixated on "what time it is back home. "They have the hardest time, not only with the time change but also with their irritated travel companions!
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Title Annotation:ORIENTATION
Author:Herb, Bryan
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 5, 2005
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