Hi… we’re back! Apologies for our absence. I was off traveling to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to visit family and decided to take a small break from blogging. I would offer you TastyKakes and salt water taffies as condolences if this weren’t the internet. ;)
I’m feeling rejuvenated now that I’ve conquered one of the most annoying side effects of worldwide travel: jet lag.
The truth is that our stone-age bodies were never built to travel countries, let alone continents, in a single day. And so jet lag is really your body saying, “What just happened?”
A fact that is often noted in my office is that it can take up to a day for your body to adjust to each time zone crossed. It’s a 12-hour difference from Hong Kong to New York, and so technically it can take six to nine days to get back on schedule. It usually takes me about five days to begin to feel normal again, but it’s worse when you’re traveling from west to east.
Here’s some tips on how to lessen the effects of this foe:
Leave home well-rested Pack two days ahead of time to make sure you get a full night’s sleep before you leave. (I’m still working on this one, ha).
Adapt to your new time zone Change your watch once you get on the plane. (No watching Alien at what is now 3 a.m., sorry.) Once you arrive at your destination, stay awake until an early bedtime so that you don’t wake up in the middle of the night, ready for breakfast.
Have sleep aids ready Use melatonin or a sleeping pill if it’s OK with your doctor. (My best experience with jet lag was when I had a prescription sleeping pill. I just took half of it, which was potent enough to make me pass out and not feel drowsy afterwards.)
Be kind to your body Drink lots of water, have an eye mask and ear plugs and move around when on the plane to prevent dehydration and swelling, which will make sleeping uncomfortable. (I always choose an aisle seat when flying internationally and try to avoid caffeine).
On my next flight, I’m going to try out ordering a no-salt meal. I read recently that because our taste buds work less effectively at high altitudes, airlines put extra spices and salt into our food to try to make it taste somewhat good. Salt, in turn, leads to swelling, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel or look particularly great with huge ankles. What tips would you recommend when flying? Have you figured out a good remedy to jet lag?
p.s. And in case you missed it, here’s my top ten must-haves when traveling by air.