I'm going for a long vacation to a different time zone (around 8 hours difference with what I live in now). How to change my day regimen in a proper way?

Should I start to gradually shift my wake up and morning exercise time before I go? Or is it better to just arrive there and switch right on the spot?

1 Answer 1


Normally I try not to answer people's questions with pills, but in this case you really should consider using melatonin. It's been fairly well studied. From a 2002 study:

Melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet-lag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe. It should be recommended to adult travellers flying across five or more time zones, particularly in an easterly direction, and especially if they have experienced jet-lag on previous journeys. Travellers crossing 2-4 time zones can also use it if need be.

The recommendation is to take it before you leave. From a 2008 study:

Although post-flight melatonin administration works efficiently in transmeridian flights across less than 7-8 times zones, in the case longer distances, melatonin should be given by 2-3 days in advance to the flight.

Provided you're in a country with access to melatonin, you should consider buying some before you leave. Worst case scenario is you're flying to a county that sells it, and then you can take it once there.

The only other advice I can offer up is just to be gentle to yourself in the first week. Your sleep will likely be jeopardized, so you'll be operating on reduced testosterone, growth hormone, and general concentration. Not a great time to really be hitting your maximums.

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