Early to bed eases jet lag on trip east


You've flown across the country, checked into your hotel and have a busy week of business -- or pleasure -- ahead of you. The last thing you need is trouble falling asleep.

The National Sleep Foundation, in cooperation with Hilton Hotels Corp., has compiled a list of helpful hints about how you can minimize jet lag and get quality sleep when you're traveling:

* Do anticipate time-zone changes. Get up and go to bed earlier a few days prior to an eastbound trip and a few hours later for a westbound trip.

* Do set your watch to the destination time zone as soon as you board your plane and start matching your schedule to the new time zone.

* Do bring items from home and unpack when you arrive so you'll feel more at home.

* Do bring earplugs or a blindfold if you are sensitive to unfamiliar sounds or light.

* Do go outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the body's biological clock.

* Do eat light snacks when you arrive, rather than heavy meals.

* Do engage in some light, outdoor exercise, such as walking.

* Do adhere to regular routines at bedtime, such as reading a book or watching the news.

* Do drink plenty of fluids before you go to bed. It's also a good idea to keep a glass of water by your bedside.

* Do remain awake until 10 p.m. local time.

* Do take short naps -- no longer than two hours -- to help acclimate yourself to the new time zone. But don't take them close to bedtime.

And, here are some things to avoid:

* Don't drink caffeine, other stimulants or any alcohol for three to four hours before bedtime.

* Don't stay indoors. This can actually worsen jet lag.

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