Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cures for Jet Lag?

San Francisco Airport International Terminal

I'd love to know what other people have done to combat jet lag, but to get the ball rolling here's my approach to dealing with it. Not saying it would work for anyone else, of course, but at least it gives me a basic ability to function on these trips:

- try to get onto local time as soon as possible. Stay up until 9 pm at least otherwise you'll be awake at 2 am, fall back to sleep at 6 am and feel like crap when the alarm goes off at 7 am.

- you *will* wake up during the night. The body is 8 or 9 hours out which means instead of body temperature and other processes (e.g. urine production) slowing down to coincide with sleeping, everything is still going full steam ahead. Travel tiredness will only knock you out for so long.

- only when you wake up at 12 midnight, 1 am etc. do you reach for any kind of drugs. (No, not that kind ..)

- I use one or one-half a tablet of Benedryl, an anti-histamine for hay fever relief. This helps deal with any stuffiness you feel after the flight and, for me at least, acts as a very mild sedative, sufficient to put me back to sleep half an hour or so after taking it.

- If you wake around 5 am you might be better off getting up and starting the day, depending upon which direction you travelled. Again, the issue here is that 7 am CET is 10 pm on the West Coast and hence you run the risk of falling back asleep just before the alarm goes off. And that's a *very bad* thing!

- you will feel down or out-of-sorts at some stage. Accept it, and just wait it out.

That's it. No magic, alas, just routine stuff, but it works for me at least.

(In case you are wondering, yes, I do drink on flights. Gain outweighs the pain in my view!)


I said...

Going from UK -> West coast i try and get in around 2pm local, head to hotel, shower and do stuff till 9pm and then crash, seems to work with the odd time when the body wants you to wake up.

Come back West Coast -> UK its tougher i find. Overnighter and try and get into airport around mid morning, get home, go to bed for 4hrs, kids come home and wake me up around 5pm local. Eat, stay awake till 9pm, then crash. Seems to be best with me.

Just say No to drugs! ;-)

J said...

Arrving into LHR in the morning is painful. I've taken that United flight (I think it is) that gets in around 6:30 am. That's the worst option of all.

I completely agree though that West -> East is harder.