NASA scientists estimate that for every time zone you cross in your travels, you need an equal number of days in your new location to recover from jet lag. Think how that affects Californians going to Ireland for a dream golf vacation. The last thing you want to do is spend half your trip in a sleep-deprived fog. Dr. Ara Suppiah, who works with PGA Tour players Henrik Stenson Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan, gave us tips for minimizing jet lag's impact.
Book a flight that lands in the daytime, morning preferred. It's like getting a bonus day to overcome the time difference.
Don't change your sleeping habits before your trip to
get in sync with the new time zone. Sleep normally.
Two days before flying, boost your immune system with a daily dose of vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) and vitamin D (5,000 milligrams).
Over 40? Consider taking a baby aspirin to avoid a blood clot from prolonged sitting.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration compounds the effects of jet lag.
Take a prescription diazepam (Valium) or an over-the-counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl or Sominex). It will relax your muscles and help you sleep.
Avoid sugary food and drinks, including alcohol. Blood-sugar spikes increase inflammation and disturb sleep cycles.
Need to have a drink? Then eat peanuts (unsalted, if possible). Nuts slow down the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.
Glimpse directly toward the sun at dawn or dusk. Doing so will increase activity in the pineal gland, helping regulate melatonin (the sleep hormone).
Drink a liter of cold water with a squeezed lemon (skin included). This alkaline mixture helps rid
the body of acidity and germs.
Exercise, but avoid a big workout. Try walking barefoot on grass or sand for 30 minutes to reduce lingering in-flight stress.
Take one more Valium or Benadryl when you go to sleep on the first night of the trip.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.
(Illustrations by Todd Detwiler)