Time-Zone Trouble

Good sleep is essential for good health and personal productivity. But when you travel between time zones (as I often do), it is difficult to get.

If jet travel knocks you out, here are some of the things I do that I’d recommend:

  • Don’t drink alcohol on the plane. Eat light. And don’t watch TV or a movie.
  • Take melatonin (in spray form, if you can get it) an hour before you want to fall asleep on the plane — which should be as soon as you possibly can.
  • Take a nap when you arrive, but don’t sleep for more than two or three hours. That is more than enough to give you enough energy to be productive throughout the rest of the local workday, yet not so much that it prevents you from being tired enough to go to sleep on local time.
  • Don’t smoke or have caffeine (cola, coffee, chocolate) less than six hours before you want to go to sleep.
  • An hour before bedtime, take some more melatonin. Pull the blinds so the room will be nice and dark for as long as you want to sleep in the morning.
  • Set an alarm clock and back it up with a wake-up call so you don’t lose sleep worrying about whether you’ll wake up at the right time.
[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]