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  1. Prepare your body for the change in time zones.
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    Every week, push your schedule one hour back or forward, depending on where you're going. The more time zones you're flying across, the earlier you'll need to start. This will give your body a chance to gradually adjust to your new time zone. Travel direction has some impact on whether or not you feel jet lagged. It is recommended that you try going to bed earlier a few nights before leaving if you're traveling east, but if you're traveling west, try going to bed later for a couple of nights.
  2. Stay hydrated.
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    On the day of your flight, drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is one of the symptoms of jet lag, and the dry, cabin air on the plane doesn't help. Stay away from any beverages with alcohol or caffeine in them, as the side effects of dehydration can do more harm than good.
  3. Set your watch to the time at your destination as soon as you begin your flight.
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    This helps you to mentally prepare for the new time zone.
  4. Sleep (or stay awake) like you're already there.
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    If it's daylight at your destination, try to avoid sleeping on the plane. If it's nighttime at your destination when you're on the plane, try to sleep. Use earplugs, eye shades, and turn on the air-conditioning valve (cooler temperatures may help you to fall asleep faster).
  5. On a long flight, flat bed seats may be worth the upgrade.
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    The quality of your sleep is far superior.
  6. Ask your physician for short-acting sleeping medication if you are on a long flight.
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    Many people find this is helpful. If you'll be needing sleep while on the plane, try to book a roomier seat. In a narrow economy seat with little leg room, your body will produce an adrenaline-like substance to keep blood flowing up to your brain, which generally prevents you from being able to sleep. The availability of more leg room in first class or business class seats helps the passenger to sleep.
  7. Eat like you're already there.
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    Avoid eating airplane food, since it's generally served on a schedule that's consistent with the time zone you're leaving, not the one you're going to. If you're hungry, snack lightly until you arrive at your destination, and eat during what would be mealtimes there.
  8. Play or exercise, preferably in the sun.
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    If it's daytime at your destination, spend as much time outside as you can. The exposure to sunlight will help your brain adjust to the new time zone. Remain active. Don't just go to your hotel room and sit in front of the television. If you desperately need a nap, take one only for 30 minutes. Any longer than that will make the jet lag worse. Any exertion (for example, a brisk walk) will help, and doing it in sunlight will make it even more effective.
  9. Eat light meals according to your new time zone.
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    Not only is your sleep cycle adjusting, but so is your digestive routine. Large, rich meals will make it all the more difficult for your body to adapt, and symptoms like constipation and diarrhea will put a damper on your vacation.
  10. Exercise early in the evening and in the morning.
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    It'll help you get better sleep by tiring you out before going to bed (as long as you exercise a few hours before bed, so that the body has time to calm down) and it'll help make you feel more awake in the morning by getting your blood flowing.
  11. Have a protein-rich breakfast the morning after you arrive.
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    It'll help with alertness.
  12. Consider taking melatonin.
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    Melatonin is the hormone your body naturally creates around the time you usually go to bed. So taking it at the time you want to tell your body to go to bed, may help your internal clock to adjust to the new time zone. If you take melatonin, the time you take it is crucial to the success. You will want to take it within 30 minutes of the time you want to tell your body is your new "bedtime." Take it for four days after arriving at your new destination.