Here's how to avoid jet lag while traveling

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There are so many things to love about traveling. But traveling to a new city, especially one in a different time zone, can wreak havoc on your sleep.

Researcher John Burns, explains, "In Paris, my watch is telling me it is 8 a.m., but my circadian clock is telling me it is midnight. So that can screw things up."

In a recent study, scientists found that one side of the brain stays awake to act as a sort of watch dog to alert us to any potential dangers in new places.

So what can you do to help ease into a different time zone?

A few days before your trip, go to bed an hour earlier, if you're traveling eastward.

If you are going west, delay your bedtime by about an hour.

Pick a flight that allows an early evening arrival, and stay up until 10 p.m. local time.

If you have to sleep during the day, take a short nap, but set an alarm to be sure you don't oversleep. This will help your biological clock adjust. Gradually adjust your sleep and wake times to your destination's time zone.

Some other tips to help during your trip: avoid too much caffeine and alcohol. That can disrupt your sleep patterns. Also, if white noise usually helps you fall asleep, turn on the fan or the AC unit.

Experienced travelers suggest bringing along some personal items. Having your own pillow that you are used to can make you feel more comfortable in a place that is unfamiliar.

Remember, your best defense is to adapt your routine to your destination's time zone as soon as possible.

If you really want to get scientific about it, here's a free jet lag calculator that can help you precisely adjust your sleep times before you take off.
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