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From Oregon, USA:

Melatonin has been recommended to us as a way to reduce the effects of jet lag on an overnight flight from Oregon to Washington, D.C. As a new diabetic, my son and I are looking for ways to minimize potential complications. Any thoughts?


Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland at the base of the brain. It seems to play an important role in regulating circadian rhythms that are light dependant and for this reason it has been used to modify the effects of jet-lag, insomnia and switching from day shift to night shift and vice versa. There is some quite good evidence that it is of value in diminishing jet lag; but trials have mostly been on transatlantic flights with a six hour time zone difference and the application has been primarily advocated for business travellers on short and repeated visits who are required to make significant decisions soon after arrival. I do not think it appropriate to try for your son, for one thing it really needs a few trips to get the timing of the dose right. It is however without side effects except for occasional drowsiness and can be purchased in the vitamin section of the big supermarkets.

I am assuming that this is to be an Easter Break junket to the East Coast, and so I rather suspect that for your son the excitement of the trip would in any case override any melatonin effect. I would suggest you try to get him to rest in the afternoon and then have supper and P.M. insulin at the usual time. Take all testing materials, glucagon and insulin with you and have a spare set in the baggage. If this is a 10 pm flight or thereabouts you will probably get a snack after take off; but I would in any case take a bed-time snack and a breakfast equivalent with you. Give your son a snack just before or after take off and hope that he will get some sleep. Do a blood sugar just before or after arrival and if possible defer breakfast until you get to the airport or better still until you arrive at your destination, remembering that it will be three hours earlier by Oregon time.


[Editor's comment: We have answered other travel questions previously. WWQ]

Original posting 23 Mar 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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