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4 sleeping aids to reduce jet lag on long flights

Greay-haired woman with eyes closed, head resting against her airplane seat.

Enjoying a restful flight.

4 sleeping aids to reduce jet lag on long flights

April 26, 2013

Q: What is a great over-the-counter sleeping aid for intercontinental flights? I have found it useful to force myself to sleep as if I were already in the new time zone to overcome jet lag faster. I find that difficult to do and wonder if sleeping aids will help.

A: You might benefit to try Benadryl 25 to 50 mg. This may not be as effective as you wish and it also may have a bit of a hangover effect. Benadryl is an antihistamine and is more effective in some people than others. It is cheap and OTC, however.

Melatonin is an OTC option that you may try. It is available OTC and inexpensive but may not be effective enough for you. It should not cause you any hangover affect.

If you have time before your upcoming flight then you might try one of these and see how it does for you, perhaps on a non-work night.

I think your BEST possible options in terms of effect and lack of side effect would be either Ambien or Lunesta. These are only by prescription, however. I would advise that you ask your doctor for a prescription for one of these as a preferred option. It does have the disadvantage of it being a prescription and more cost involved, but it would be much more likely to give you the desired sleep effect.

-- Answer from Dr. Anthony Bray, physician on JustAnswer.

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