Jet lag experiences vary from person to person thus it is hard to asses the efficacy of any single jet lag remedy. We are going to discuss the use of melatonin as a treatment for jet lag in this section. Melatonin is naturally present in our bloodstream and the amount varies depending on the time of the day. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland whenever the surrounding gets dark and melatonin production is stopped when there is adequate amount of light on the surrounding. Melatonin is very important in the circadian rhythm which controls various important body functions.
In a study conducted in 2005, reports show that melatonin is effective in making people sleep better and faster. The dose that the study used is 0.3 milligrams (mg). For treating jet lag, the recommended dosage of Melatonin is 0.3 up to 0.5 mg. Taken 1 hour before going to bed at final destination. Another approach is to use 1 – 5 mg 1 hour before going to bed for 2 days before departure and for 2 – 3 days upon arrival at your final destination. The British Journal of Sports Medicine also released a position statement about the use of melatonin for alleviating jet lag on athletes. Melatonin should not be used on people with sever mental illness, autoimmune diseases, severe allergies and pregnant women.
A study was also conducted on a group of passengers who traveled between Australasia and the United Kingdom. Half of the passengers were administered with Melatonin before departure and also after their arrival. The other half of passengers were given a different type of sleep enhancer. The result of the study showed that those group of passengers taking Melatonin regained normal sleeping pattern in just one half the time it takes the other group that were given with a different sleep enhancer. Melatonin side effects are generally minimal and ranges from sleepiness during the day to headaches.
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Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ (2002). Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).
Murray MT, et al. (2006). Melatonin. In JE Pizzorno Jr, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed., vol. 1, pp. 1057–1064. St. Louis: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.