THERE is nothing worse than coming back from holiday and finding yourself awake at 3am.
And as someone who travels for a living, I'm often hit hard by jet lag.
I've tried all of the techniques – exercising, limiting my food and drink – but nothing has ever worked.
As someone who always ends up napping in the middle of the day – a big no-no – I was given another technique by an American friend.
She told me that she swears by melatonin tablets, both on overnight flights and when trying to adjust to a different time zone.
I wasn't sure at first, as someone who had never even taken sleeping pills.
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However, on a recent trip to San Diego, I popped into the CVS Pharmacy nearby and bought bottle of the strawberry flavoured vitamins.
It advises taking them 20 minutes before you need to sleep.
I was skeptical, but they were a game-changer to my holiday.
Despite being seven hours behind I simply took one of these before bed and ended up getting a full nine hours of sleep.
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While they won't knock you out like sleeping pills, they simply help you get that tired feeling.
For example, I also took one on the overnight flight back home before the meal service – only for turbulence to delay it.
An hour later my food was served, and I was definitely feeling drowsy, but managed to hold off until I had eaten to pass out.
And after arriving back home – where jet lag is most likely to hit – I found that one before bed meant I avoided it altogether with one full night of rest.
There is one downside, however – you cannot get them over the counter in the UK.
You have to be prescribed melatonin, something doctors can be reluctant to do.
I struggled to get a prescription from my doctor, despite explaining my frequent travel for my job.
This is the same across Europe, although the US has fewer rules, as they can be sold over the counter.
However, you should speak to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
It is advised that you start from around 1mg, and only go up to a maximum of 10mg.
It is also advised against taking it every night.
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Is melatonin safe?
Melatonin is generally safe for short-term use, although you will need a prescription in the UK.
When using melatonin for the first time it is recommended you do not take more than 2mg per day.
It takes around 1 to 2 hours for melatonin to work.
But melatonin can cause some side effects including:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Stomach cramps
Here are some other sleep supplements you can take.
And we've rounded up some other jet lag tips to try and reduce the symptoms, including the best foods to eat.
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