Tips on dealing with jet lag
By now, I have become a self-proclaimed expert on dealing with jet lag. As I just return on a trip, once again somehow I have no jet lag, traveling from time zone 10 hrs away. While no one has yet asked me for my expert advice, that won’t stop me from giving some tips here:
- Change your wrist watch/cell phone/ computer clock to your destination time zone as soon as you start your flight.
- Do not think about the time zone that you came from. That is, do not think to yourself, wow it is 3 AM in the place where I came from, so I should really be tired. Rather think to yourself in the new timezone – it is 8 PM (here).
- Set yourself reasonable goal. For example, say you normally are awake from 7 AM to 11 PM midnight. Suppose you travel between Central European time (say Berlin) and US Central time (say Chicago). These time zones are 7 hrs apart. 4 PM in Chicago is same as 11 PM in Berlin. It will be pretty darn difficult for you to stay up till 11 PM in Chicago, your usual sleeping time. It will also be pretty darn silly for you to fall asleep at 4 PM in Chicago (no adjustment). Rather, plan to sleep at 8 PM in Chicago which will be a bit early by Chicago time, and a bit late as per your usual unadjusted body, but doable both ways. Similarly, plan to get up at 5 AM in Chicago. This will give you good rest period as well, and a good start on your day.
- Similarly when you travel eastbound, set yourself a reasonable goal, say if you go to bed at 11 PM in Chicago, go to bed at 1 AM in Berlin, and plan to get up at 9 AM, and ask for meetings to start at 10 AM if you can. If you are traveling for a big conference where other people are traveling too, you obviously can’t request that, but it is also likely that there will be no meetings before 9 AM.
- Sleep in the flights early. If you are in an 8 hr flight, do not waste a couple of hours watching movies in flight. If you plan to sleep, sleep right away. Then, you can get up, and prepare in terms of your landing. If you are on a long red eye, sleep through out your flight, and wake up 40 minutes or so before the flight landing.
- In general, avoid watching a lot of movies or TV in flight, since that is tiring to the eyes, and removes your focus on travel.
- Don’t forget to enjoy your travels!! Happy people adjust easier to changes. Don’t let some minor inconveniences such as a secondary screening or a rude stewardess distract you from your travel joy.
Hope these tips are helpful. I look forward to YOUR tips and suggestions as well.