I travelled often for work and leisure and have been on hundreds of flights that were over 6 hours. Managing jet lag was an important aspect of corporate life, since I would have to arrive at the location and go straight into meetings. I never ever flew on business class, probably because my buttocks (aka: gluteus maximus) fit into economy seats better. Haha! I always wanted to fly business class though. So here I am, I want to give some of my tips in the past for you people that have struggled a lot with jet lag. My friend Maria del Mar wanted some tips so I thought out loud, “why not provide tips to everyone that is reading my blog.”
We all know the effects of jetlag, they could be fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach problems, concentration issues, insomnia at night, basically, you just don’t feel well. I used to travel quite often from Tokyo to Europe or the USA, almost 10 times per year. How did I go about managing jet lag? You will find some of my tips below, but there is no real magical formula. It all depends on each person, but these worked for me.
A day before traveling
- Adjust your sleep schedule so that you can be fully awake or sleepy at your destination. When going West, I would normally stay awake the night before the flight so that I will be tired on the flight, hoping to fall asleep. If you have problems falling asleep in the plane, take a sleeping pill and that might help. However, make sure you don’t try a new sleeping pill for the first time. Only take medications that you are already familiar with.
- When going East, you should sleep like 3 or 4 hours only the night before. Then, you will be tired on the flight and will most likely sleep a few hours. Then, you will be ok when you arrive at the destination.
- For the coffee drinkers, avoid drinking coffee 24 hours before the flight.
On the flight
- If you are flying on an airline with beverage and food services, I recommend drinking a glass or two of red wine. This helped me in falling asleep. It won’t be a good idea to drink too much alcohol, since you will get dehydrated and that is not a good sign.
- Drink a lot of water on the flight and stay away from the caffeine products. You have to try to fall asleep in order for this method to work.
- If you still feel sleepy when you arrive in the morning, you will have to stay awake as long as you can. I rarely drink coffee, but on these occasions, I do. You can also try some energy drinks, but I have never done that yet since coffee was more than enough in my case. If you feel sleepy and it is not the proper time to sleep (eg. at 5pm), then only take a power nap of 20 to 30 minutes. If you sleep like 3 hours, which you can easily do, you will be awake the entire night. Don’t do that!
- If you arrive in the evening and you are not sleepy, then first try the following steps or combinations
- Go eat a heavy meal and get stuffed.
- Try to take a nice hot bath for about 25 minutes. If there is no bath, stand under the hot shower for 10 minutes.
- Drink a glass of red wine or strong alcohol (brandy works well).
- It is always good to exercise and stretch out.
- Try to get as much daylight. Sunlight is actually good for you.
- Make sure to get enough sleep – make up for the lack of sleep, if any.
I hope that helps and if you have any other bright ideas, please send them to me.