Jet lag is something that I am very familiar with. And, in the best conditions, I am not a very sound sleeper. In order for me to fall asleep, it must be pitch black, void of sound and about 65 degrees in my room. Not an environment that I can easily replicate on an airplane. Well, not until I get my own plane. So, sleeping on the plane does not come easy for me.
That is why when I fly long distances, I employ my Jet Lag Avoidance Plan.Step #1 – Get on the time zone you are going to as soon as you can. I know if it is 10:00 am at home and 10:00 pm at your vacation destination, this step might not be realistic. Unless you don’t have a job. But, if you have a long flight in the morning, stay up the night before and then as soon as you get on the plane, go to sleep. Step #2 – If you get to your destination at night, go right to bed. (Ambien works great in this situation). If you arrive in the morning, this is a little harder, but stay up. Stay up as long as you can. Step #3 – You may be up at 3:00 or 4:00 am those first couple of nights. Try not to do anything that is going to be to stimulating. I take a hot bath and read until the rest of the world wakes up. What ever you do, don’t get on the Internet. You will never get back to sleep. The idea is to drift back to sleep if even for an hour or two and then get up when you would normally get up. Step #4 – You are going to have that one day, usually the third or fourth day were you are going to be so tired it hurts. I mean hurts like if you don’t go to bed, you are going to literally die. It will hit you at about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. If you can stay up, try, but if you can’t, go to sleep. And sleep and sleep and sleep. It will be the best, hardest most relaxing sleep of your life. I look forward to those nights because I never sleep like that in my everyday life.
Unfortunately, by the time you get acclimated to the new time zone, it will be time to come back home. You can employ the same steps on your return trip, but why would you want to. When you get back home, you can take your time getting back on your normal schedule. Anybody ask why you are so tired, you just yawn and say, “Jet lag.” But, trust me, you can only get away with this for about at week.
Unfortunately, my flight to Australia is an overnight 9-hour flight. The issue is that Australia is only a 3-hour time difference from China.
The steps above don’t apply. I just need to find some way to sleep on the plane. Maybe I should get my ambien prescription filled before I go.
11 thoughts on “J – Jetlag Avoidance Plan”
I experienced severe jet lag after visiting Thailand. I love Thailand, but the long plane rides and the jet lag is the worst. My jet lag after Thailand lasted for about a week. It took a long time to get back to my normal schedule. I’ll be traveling to Scotland and London in June. The jet lag won’t be nearly as bad. Thank God.
Jolie du Pre
I have a friend who is a pilot who says for every time zone you cross it takes two days to fully get over jet lag. It’s not fun, but necessary to explore the world. London is my favorite place in the world. Have fun.
You sound JUST like me. Darkness, Silence, Cold. Those are also my sleeping requirements. I lived in Europe for several years and thought the jet lag I experienced going back and forth between there and the states was bad. I can’t imagine spending a week feeling like elephants have been playing kickball with my head.
Yeah. I know the feeling. And, you never get used to it.
Great tips. Your #1 and #4 are really the only ways to get through it. But, I want to be one of those people who have to deal with jet lag. That means we are getting to see and experience the amazing world we live in.
I get horrible jet lag. But at the same time, I secretly dig long flights – the idea of just being up in the air with no one to disturb you is a form of respite!
I agree, mel. I am not great on short flights. Under 4 hours I get anxious, but give me a 12 hour flight and I am surprisingly calm. I think jet lag is a small price to pay to see the world.
When I was traveling a lot to the West Coast, I found that arriving in the afternoon and spending the rest of the day in sunlight did wonders for me. Even though there was a three-hour time difference, as long as I saw daylight, I knew it was daytime, and my body adjusted. I always found that my jet lag was worse when I flew east, because I’d be wide awake when the clock said it was bedtime.
Yeah, traveling west to east is much more difficult. On Sunday, I will be flying 9 hours basically north to south getting in at 6:00 am. I will try and get out in the sun all day and hopefully that will get me acclimated to the time quickly.