Say Bon Voyage to Jet Lag
Jet lag is one of the banes of modern life, and researchers are beginning to take it seriously. Leading the pack of potential cures is the hormone melatonin, which the body produces when deprived of light. High melatonin levels tell you it's time to sleep, whether you're in bed or not. Low levels incite wakefulness.
For years, scientists have debated whether supplements of melatonin fight jet lag. That's probably because people haven't been taking it at the right time, says Charmane Eastman of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. In a study reported in the journal Sleep, she found that people with artificially induced jet lag slept substantially better on doses of melatonin even as low as .3 mg. The trick is to take the pill half an hour before bed only if your body thinks it's the wrong time of day to sleep. Otherwise, your body's already producing enough.