Battling the Jet Lag
Recently I’ve flown two long haul flights from New York. Lucky for me, they’ve been more or less direct. The first was to Cape Town, South Africa and the second to Hong Kong. I’ll admit there was a fairly large difference between the two flights given the first one I was pleasantly seated in Business, while the second one, I was deeply entrenched in the cargo load in front of two babies. However, regardless of class, both flights saddled me with serious Jet Lag. Here are a few tips, some generic, some more specific that have aided me through the years of long haul travel.
JET LAG TIPS
1. Adopt the local time to your body as soon as you land.
For instance, if you’re on the NY – Europe flight that leaves NY early evening and arrives at the crack of dawn in Europe, when you’d normally be asleep, get to your destination and sleep for a bit. But, if you take the later flight that gets you into Europe in the late morning, say 10am or 11am, then push through, avoiding the nap – a pitfall and jet lag inhibitor.
2. Work up a sweat as soon as possible.
Whether its exercise (the best option, clearly) or a quick trip to the sauna, your body will delight at being able to rid itself of all the nasty airplane toxins and altitude bloat it gained on the float over. If you’re lucky enough to have a jacuzzi tub at your new destination, I highly recommend a hot, hot bath with the jets going to massage out the inevitable stiff neck and shoulders to the increasing circulation – especially in your legs. So, be sure to run your calf muscles, thigh muscles and soles of your feet along the jet pressure for relief.
3. Avoid Caffeine at the wrong hours for your body
If its 3am your body time, do not push through staying awake with caffeine. Instead, let your body be tired, flush it with water (the most obvious yet boring jet lag cure) or fruit juice. However (and as a fanatical coffee drinker, I hold hard and fast to this exception) if you’re body is accustomed to coffee at that time, for instance if its 6pm in Asia and 6am back in the US, and you’re understandably fading Viagra Online, then have the coffee. If you can, also try and avoid indulging in sugar-loaded pick-me-ups. Of course, I’ve never been able to do this and just indulged in some ridiculous chocolate petit four at 5am Asia time.
4. Alcohol, Ambien (sleep-aids) and Meditation Can be Used Effectively
I’m sure Doctors and naturalists will balk at this (then again, the Doctors I know may agree), but using sleep aids, in whatever form they are, to your advantage is not only wise, its practical. So, if Alcohol helps you sleep (obviously not a huge bender that will dehydrate you and leave you shaky in the morning), such as one or two glasses of wine, then by all means, indulge and allow it to help you fall asleep at an unfamiliar hour. I recommend only doing this though at the new destination’s dinner hour so that your boozy snooze will be aided by natural light’s schedule. As for sleeping pills, I’m normally against relying on anything in a pill form, but if you are on a plane for over 12 hours and your time at your destination requires you to hit the ground running (I landed in Asia yesterday and had to do 4 back-to-back interviews after a 16 hour flight) then I recommend popping A pill to force your body into some much needed rest. And then yes, I’m also advocating using restorative meditation or deep breathing exercises to help your body relax- especially when its been pushed to its sleepless limits and you don’t have enough time to nap.
5. Eat Only at Destination’s Meal Times
I’m not sure about you, but my body craves food (comfort) when its tired. Its a full battle for me to deny the random snack or nibble here and there in an effort to keep me going. Though, I need to combat it because giving my body food as a consolation is not half as effective as dowsing it with water. Plus, it delays time adjustment since you won’t be hungry at the local times and may be forced to eat again during those hours anyway, ultimately resulting in travel bulge!
As we all know, there are tons of little tricks and specific aids that each of our body’s respond best to. I’d love to hear yours.
**Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the Sheen pic. Winning!