Jet Lag

Sorry no magic here. The only cure for jet lag is time, and we humans adjust by about an hour a day.

I don’t know about you, but I have read volumes about jet lag, trying to find a magic bullet. The thing is that if you have commitments in your regular time zone there is only so much pre-adjusting you can do.

So what I do is plan for it.

Embrace the sunrise

I am not a morning person, or a night owl. I have a few good hours in the middle of the day. What this means is that I rarely see sunrises at home. The greatest thing for me about jet lag is being able to greet the sun as it rises and take advantage of the early morning light for a walk-about.

Organize the trip to make the first few days easy on you

I learned this by trial and error. On our first trip to Ireland we stayed the first 4 days in Dublin at one place and used public transportation before picking up a rental car and needing to remember to drive on the left.

That worked better than on a much shorter trip where we picked up a car at the airport and headed out immediately.

In spite of appearances, this road didn’t go through and we had to back out. Then noticed the sign at the top.

Add a few extra days to the beginning

When I know need to have my wits about me, I add a few days to the beginning of the trip. The most adjustment you need to make is 12 hours, so three days = three hours is a decent percentage of any adjustment you need to make. Being outdoors in the natural sunlight and being physically active are two features I look for to jump start the adjustment.

On my two trips to Mulundi village in Kenya I felt like I really needed to have my wits about me, so I added a couple of extra days at the beginning of the trip. The first time we took them in Amsterdam. We just wandered about.

The second trip I splurged (it was a major birthday year for me) and took a three day safari to Masai Mara, where jet lag was an asset, I enjoyed being fully awake on the early morning game drives. Spending the days outside in the sunshine watching the amazing wildlife was a great way to get my internal clock adjusted to the new time zone.

How about you? Does jet lag hit you hard? How do you cope?

10 thoughts on “Jet Lag”

  1. I’m just the opposite. The best jet lag treatment for me is to just dive in and have a full day whether I wake up at 2:30 AM or 8:00 AM. A couple days of that and it starts to fade. The most important part for me, though, is getting outdoors and in to the sun to help reset my circadian rhythm.

    Of course if I were to be somewhere I had to drive or cycle in traffic I might do as you do and take a few days before diving in. I’m quite sure my judgment and reaction time are not at their best after a 16 hour flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting outside is definitely the best way to reset.
      I guess what I was trying to say is that, if you can, manipulating those first couple of days to maximize mental capacity at critical times can help.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Living in the US, I felt no jet lag any time I travelled to Europe. However, coming home? Different story. It just takes a couple days, then I’m back to normal. But, that first day back to work after a long flight and time change, is really rough. Always feel like I’m sleepwalking that first day back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found that direction matters for me also, at least some, coming home from Europe is harder than going over. But going to Japan, China, Australia the worst is going over.
      I have a hypothesis that how hard jet lag hits might vary depending on whether you are naturally a night owl or morning person.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I find that when I land I just need to go with the day and then sleep at my regular hour so I wake up refreshed. Having said that I do great going into a new time zone but a mess once I get home. Currently travelling in China where it’s 12 hours ahead of my regular time zone ! Your pictures are beautiful

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  4. Not to bad at all. I adjust the time on my watch to the time at my destination. I try to get an hour’s extra sleep for a couple of days before I leave. I don’t sleep very well on the plane, but I take a muscle relaxant every four hours, which helps me doze off occasionally. I don’t drink alcohol on the flight, just lots of water. I think jet lag can be eased by mind over matter and sheer willpower to stay awake until it’s my usual bedtime. I’ve had a lot of practice. 😅

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