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Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

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  • Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

    Jet lag hits every traveler at one point or another -- some harder than others. What are your tips and tricks for dealing with jet lag? We offer some tips here (http://www.independenttraveler.com/r...=67&category=5), but we want to hear yours!

    Do you take a sleeping pill on the plane? Have you tried melatonin? Do you start adjusting your schedule a few days before your trip? Help your fellow travelers by sharing your strategies.
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


  • #2
    Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

    It depends which direction I am going in! If it will be earlier in my destination, I try to get some sleep on the plane so I arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed: Nytol and a gin and tonic seems to help with that part






    Get a countdown clock!

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    • #3
      Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

      I can't sleep on planes to save my life, unfortunately, so I've weighed the idea of taking a sleeping pill, particularly when I'm headed east across the Atlantic. Haven't tried it yet though -- I'm not a big fan of taking medications.

      So what I do instead is try to start shifting to the new time zone a day or two beforehand...go to bed earlier (or later, depending). and once I get to the new place, I try to force myself into the new schedule right away rather than napping or whatever.

      Oh, and obviously I do all the standard "take care of your body" stuff like drinking lots of water, moving around on the plane and eating healthy.
      "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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      • #4
        http://massagelondon.org massage therapy London UK health salon thai medicine studio

        resting and avoiding stress (like the last minute packing or finishing your work), sleeping and avoiding alcohol to prevent dehydration during the flight, eating light, vegetarian or vegan meals as not to burden your body with digestion of fats and proteins. On arrival walking in the bright sun, face towards it and swimming in the river/sea/ocean will help to adjust an internal body clock to the time zone.

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        • #5
          Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

          Although I'm not "old" I've been traveling for quite awhile now and I've found that it just gets harder and harder to deal with, no matter what I do. The planes do not recirculate the cabin air the way that they COULD DO (this costs them money because it burns more fuel) hence the flying "germ tube" and so I guess stale, dry air and no matter what, nothing works anymore. I USED to be able to hit the ground running in almost any direction but it doesn't work for me anymore. The only "easy" assimilation is a 12 hour flight with a 12 hour time difference and that leaves Tokyo. Pretty much either way you'll catch on alright. Otherwise, I for some reason, have found it increasingly difficult to adjust; because traveling isn't just the plane part either anyway. As someone pointed out, it's the night before (I NEVER sleep the night before a trip, that's when I'm usually packing - don't ask but it never mattered before) and then you have to get to the airport, and now, getting through the airport is like getting into NORAD, then the flight, then when you land (and I almost always traveled solo) I had to get myself from airport to hotel etc etc. It just used to be easier. Not anymore.

          A funny story was when I got to Australia, after nearly 24 hours in air, plus almost a day on the ground in LAX waiting for Air New Zealand flight after I arrived from NYC, and add another day across the date line, I got to Aussie at 8am on a Monday morning, all set to GO TO SLEEP. My innkeeper, a lovely woman, 1/2 of a delightful couple running my B&B, told me I WASN'T going to take a nap. I was going to have a shower, get changed and she'd map out a fine walk for me that she knew once she got me down to the Quay would keep me out long enough - I think I made it to about 8pm - to try to get me on local time. But oh how I WANTED THAT nap though it can't match the feeling I had when the vista came up before my eyes - the harbour bridge and the Opera House, as I was walking towards them - sites I'd only ever see in pictures - well, it was simply breathtaking and enthralling............I WAS REALLY THERE! So I didn't have to wait to see all that I could plan and do over the rest of the course of my time there.

          The only other thing that made me comfortable on a plane was sitting in a business class seat en route to Hong Kong from Tokyo. Luckily, the Chinese man next to me had the smarts enough to wake me up to see the now gone BONKERS air approach that jets took to land at the old airport...........it had NYC skyline beat by miles & miles only because it appears as though we're flying INTO it all as the plane makes a severe, sharp banking turn before he plunks the plane down on the runway. I wouldn't have wanted to miss that so he timed my wake up just right! And when I went to bed in HK that night, I had no problem getting up the next day. FYI, no American President was ever permitted (by us, not them) to land in that HK airport, Kai Tak, on account of the danger and only the most senior, experienced pilots could do that run. But now with the new airport on Lantau Island, our Presidents have flown to HK but the trip into HK island is just longer.

          So I have no cure for jet lag; my body just cannot take it anymore but I'll keep traveling and go slower the first day or two, depending upon whether or not it's a big time change etc. I think the drinking lots of water tip helps a bit; other than that, I think if one isn't seated up in the premium cabins, where it's actually POSSIBLE to sleep, there's no chance except to count down the hours till ya land. I've lost some of my mojo I guess. BUMMER.
          Colleen Costello
          Message Board Moderator

          Host Bonjour
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          • #6
            Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

            Hello,
            Having made two trips to Italy this year, I will recommend No Jet-lag pills. I read about them on the About European website. The writer recommended them. I found that if I followed the directions fairly closely they worked well.
            I cannot sleep on planes either. I have always made it a practice when going to Europe to get off the plane, check into the hotel and then walk. I never did take a nap. With these pills, while I knew I had not had any sleep, I did not feel worn out and on both trips stayed up easily until 10 p.m. and had no trouble waking up at a decent time (6 a.m. or so) in the morning. I had none of the waking up at 2 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep. Since I always wake up once or twice a night (an age thing) I was pleased that I had no trouble going back to sleep.
            Coming home last week after being on Italy time for seven weeks and having to be at the Rome airport by 4:40, I felt fine all day and went to bed around 8:30 p.m. (I figure I had been up 24 hours). I slept until 4:30 a.m. and have been on a regular sleeping schedule since then.
            I am sold on these pills. I ordered them through Magellan's travel store.
            Sincerely,
            Host Ciao

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            • #7
              Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

              Recently I read interviews with travel industry moguls who were asked among other things how they deal with jet lag. It was either Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines) or Stelios (Easyjet) who said that he didn't believe in jet lag and I sort of agree with him. Perhaps it helps to be the kind of person who has never required much sleep, but I have not found it to be a problem, even ignoring all of the typical advice such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, drinking lots of water, etc. Usually I am tired when I board a flight due to racing around making all of the arrangements to leave home for an extended length of time (stopping mail and newspaper, dogs to kennel, fresh litter for the cats, etc.) as well as just packing. So often I annoy the friends I travel with by falling asleep almost as soon as I fasten the seat belt. If there is ever any problem with being able to sleep, one of those little airline bottles of red wine will usually do the trick. I wake up for meals and drinks when I will get up and move about the plane a little after the food carts have cleared the aisles, then go back to sleep. I also keep something to read with me at all times so that if I can't sleep immediately, I can read and that may make me sleepy again. When I arrive, I usually try to do something requiring me to remain active all day so that sleeping is impossible. Then I go to bed at the normal time for wherever I am. Then the next morning, I am on local time. I do have one tip that helps me to be able to be active my first day. I wear some travel socks available in most travel stores that improve the circulation. I have poor circulation in my legs anyway so swelling during long flights is a problem unless I wear these socks. So if I can arrive with my lower legs and feet not feeling like clubs, it is easier to be up and active.

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              • #8
                Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                I travel with my daughter all over the world due to her fencing schedule. We have been every where. She has to be adjusted to the time so she can fence in the difficult competitions.
                What we have finally found out through trial and error is to give ourselves a full day to acclimate before she has to fence.
                We leave the US three days before competitions in Europe. Due to living on the west coast it is a pretty drastic time change usually 8-10 hours.
                We leave the first day (of course) then get there the next day. By the time we get to our destination it is usually mid afternoon.
                We check into the hotel and take a nap.
                We then get up for dinner and pretend we are going to stay up late enough to sleep all night. We never do.... we eat dinner and go crash again.
                Usually we wake up about 4-5 am and are really hungry. I always pack snack foods for us. We have cheese and crackes, protein bars, dried fruit, that kind of stuff. We also have bottles of water and juice. (I have a diet pepsi heehee)
                We chow down a bit and then go back to sleep.
                We get up for breakfast, usually after this we go shopping for supplies and check out where we are. Then by 11 oclock or so we are pooped out and take another nap.
                By the time we wake up all bright eyed and bushy tailed we go down in the lobby and watch all the other fencers show up for the competition. They look terrible. We kind of laugh.
                I can't see how you can make up for a lack of sleep without sleeping. Staying up and that kind of thing seems to just exacerbate the problem.
                My daughter has an excellent trainer therapist who takes care of top notch athletes. He says that our way is good. That it helps the body adjust and be in premium condition. We figured this out already but most coaches don't believe lowly mothers and kids.
                We also spend an extra day after the competition for her to rest and heal up. She works out in the exercise room of the hotel, or we go for a huge walk. Then she lies down and rests. It helps us hit the ground running when we get back to the US.
                Sometimes we actually get to stay and sight see, but that is kind of rare, sadly.
                We make about 10-12 trips a year to Europe and Asia for her fencing.
                UGHHHH

                Momster
                Last edited by Momster; 11-25-2006, 06:04 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                  Originally posted by Momster
                  I can't see how you can make up for a lack of sleep without sleeping. Staying up and that kind of thing seems to just exacerbate the problem.
                  Momster, sounds like you have a pretty good strategy worked out there -- sleep, sleep and more sleep! (Sounds good to me. ) I think many travelers (including me) don't want to miss a minute of their trip by sleeping away part of it in the beginning, so we force ourselves to stay awake and go see the sights, even if we're too tired to appreciate them. On my last trip to Europe, I scheduled a visit to a museum for my first afternoon, and I could barely keep my eyes open barely 20 minutes into my time there. I probably should have just sucked it up and taken a nap so that I could enjoy the museum the next day! Maybe I'll try your way next time.
                  "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                    I recently traveled to Chile (2 hour time difference during US winter and their summer; no time difference during US summer and Chilean winter). It was 2 1/2 hours to Miami and 8 1/2 hours to Santiago. Going I took an ambien and slept almost not at all. Coming home I took nothing and slept at least briefly on both flights.

                    You figure.

                    P.S. I still haven't figured out how to deal with jet lag and plane travel. I just wish they had a quiet section in coach where there would be just water and drinks, no dinner, no lights and no movies.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                      Originally posted by LSKahn
                      I still haven't figured out how to deal with jet lag and plane travel. I just wish they had a quiet section in coach where there would be just water and drinks, no dinner, no lights and no movies.
                      Haha, the way the airline industry is going, I wouldn't be surprised if someday this was all *anyone* in coach got!
                      "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                        It really depends.

                        We have traveled from Denver to Singapore (and beyond) a number of times. We have found a way to acclimate to this travel. We leave Denver early in the morning. It is a three hour flight to Seattle where we change planes for a flight to Tokyo. We then fly to Singapore arriving at midnight Singapore time.

                        We get up very early (3 am) for our flight to Seattle. This means we are a bit tired. We stay up on the flight to Seattle. After changing planes and eating lunch on the Tokyo flight, we then sleep. You have to sleep then if you want this to work. When we get to Tokyo, we shower and clean up to help us stay awake going to Singapore. The flight to Singapore is about 6 hours and again you must stay up during this time.

                        At the Singapore airport we stay at the transit hotel, find it easy to fall asleep for about six hours waking up to go on the last leg of our trip. We are basically on the new time zone at this time.

                        We've also traveled to Buenos Aires a couple of times and find this to be the easiest. BsAs is 4 hours ahead of Denver. We just stay on Denver time. Since they don't eat in the evening until 9 or 10 pm, and since this is 5 or 6 pm in Denver, it works great!

                        Both flights are redeye flights and sleeping is easy and when you get to the destination you are fine.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                          I tend to recommend against anything chemical, i.e. too much along the lines of tranqulizers or alcohol. The alcohol will only dehydrate you in an already dry compartment which is not an amenable aid against jet lag. Your body requires hydration, so does your skin, and lots of it. One can either purchase those Evian "vaporasiteurs" (a face mister with evian water) or simply buy whatever size spritz bottle is allowed on the plane and fill it with evian or whichever water you like and lightly mist your face, neck, arms etc. Keep a few soft tissue packs handy, natch. On long haul flights, one should be able to get as much bottled water as one should like. Drink it, and, as tempting as it is to get the free wine etc (from whomever is still serving it, internationally) I would stop at one of the little bottles and go no further. It should really be enough to relax you and not send you into dehydration.

                          Now I know there are some nervous flyers and I KNOW that it is darn near impossible to sleep in Coach, I don't recommend taking anything too strong to sleep IF ONLY in the case of an EMERGENCY or, just a temporary situation where your attention is needed, which is likely the worst (and very unlikely) situation anyone might encounter, one would need to be able to reclaim their faculties without too much difficutly. Some over the counter sleep aids are not very strong but some folks react easily to these things and might not easily awake; ditto for some of the newer RX non-addictive sleep aids (not tranquilizers) which count on the user to be able to sleep uninterrupted for at least 8 hours.

                          Perhaps there are some herbal remedies or teas that might be somewhat more relaxing though not as sedating (Sleepytime tea, etc; Melatonin) that has a much lighter effect on the body. I am thinking only safety here folks. I know everyone wants to be comfortable and wants to arrive fresh as a daisy but the truth is, it's tiresome traveling and it's difficult crossing time zones.

                          The newer TSA travel rules have made traveling more tiresome; it's just not as easy and carefree being at the airport anymore! Everyone is looking at everyone. I saw someone off at JFK recently and those darn baggage X-ray machines are so loud and huge it made me wonder what parts of my body might be mutated just by standing near it!! One can't help but wonder anymore, even if it isn't a bit ridiculous!!

                          What I might recommend are the things one might do at home; things like reading (especially reading up on your destination!) or listening to pleasant music (all the better with the newer, noise cancelling headsets) and DRESSING COMFORTABLY for travel - gone are the days of suits and dresses we see on my fave movie channel, TCM, where everyone is SO chic on board these old prop planes (and smoking, lol!) You can still choose a smart looking 2 piece set with top, Gents, your fave khakis or sport pants, and BRING YOUR SLIPPERS FOR LATER when everyone's feet swell up on account of the air pressure in the cabin, and you get chilly. Pull down the window shade since you might likely pass a sunrise or sunset while you are trying to sleep, bring a sleep mask (these things are great - sometimes I use them at home after a bout of insomnia) and you may not get 8 hours but YOU WILL sleep a couple of hours.

                          Most of all, plan for your first day or two to be on the easy side, if at all possible. Maybe start out a little and come back for a nap; ask for a wake up call or set and alarm so you can go back out. Our bodies are machines and they are programmed, just like most everything else! We can't expect it to just reboot and be off and running. There's no Ctrl-Alt-Del for Jet-Lag. We just have to ease into it and take care of ourselves; if we do so, our bodies will cooperate and catch up if we treat them well!! Push them hard and like our computers, we crash. Take it easy - look around where you are and just ENJOY I just worry about the artificial stuff and chemicals in the body (aside from medically necessary RX's of course!!) for knock-outs.

                          I'm not a nervous flier; my Dad is a private pilot and I understand aeronautics and I've flown all over the world; turbulence actually helps me feel sleepy, I like a rocking feeling (yes, I realize that sounds nuts but I know the jet is not in jeopardy and the captain is going to move the plane out of it fast) when I need to sleep! Flying is safe, but no one is selling me a bed on a plane - they are selling me a seat. So, that means I'm going to be tired. The quote in the compilation of my Australia trip, taking a walk on day one, is/was good advice for the tired traveller. You're out there, getting started and not over-doing it; making mental notes or pencilling in plans for your next day or two. Remember what they always said during fire drills in school - walk, don't run!! It applies to jet lag as well!!


                          PS: The only "easy" jet lag recovery I had was on a JFK-NAR-HKG trip which took 19 hours all total but we had two hours on ground in Narita (Tokyo) before going on to Hong Kong. It just worked out that we landed in HK at night and so I GOT to see the once phenomenal landing we use to get coming into now closed (they use it but not for commercial flights) Kai Tak airport, was greeted by my friends, got to her apartment in Causeway Bay and went to sleep! I slept normal and next day woke up and felt fine. That was the only EASY time. It might have helped that on the Narita-HK leg, I had a business class seat (dumb luck) and passed out in it so the nap might have prepped me, but I thank the Chinese gent who woke me up to see that landing! WHOW! Supposedly there is a simulation of it on YouTube - it was and still is the most awesome airport arrival, ever! You have to see it. And also the easiest time/travel acclamation but that was 11 years ago so it might be harder if I were to do it now, can't say. Eastbound Red-Eye from Vegas was KILLER; well, America West s**ked too Come to think of it, we flew early evening, landed evening in Vegas and I still went to bed pathetically early for Vegas in '99, but again - those AW planes were torture. And I don't gamble.
                          Colleen Costello
                          Message Board Moderator

                          Host Bonjour
                          www.IndependentTraveler.com
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                          • #14
                            Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                            Hi Everyone...........a Few Years Back On The First Of Many Trips From Florida's Space Coast To Hawaii, We Found That Flying All Day Got Us Nothing But Trouble In A Physical Sense........we Were So Excited To Take Our First Real Vacation We Could Not Wait. We Left Orlando International Early That Morning And Arrived In Hawaii At 3 Pm Hawaii Time Which Made It 9pm Est. We Rented A Car And Drove All Over Oahu Eating Macadamia Nuts And Pineapples..............we Got Back To The Hotel At 7pm Hawaii Time 1am Est. I Fell Asleep In My Soup At Dinner...................the Next Year We Made Arrangements To Stay Overnite In Ssan Francisco,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,did Some Shopping And Sightseeing Then An 8pm Flight To Oahu, Arrived At 11 Pm To Bed And Refreshed The Next Day. This Seemed To Work For Combating Our Jet Lag....hope It Works For You.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tips for Fighting Jet Lag

                              I went to Los Angeles from DC for a weekend. For some reason the time reason never hit me. I came back on a red eye on Monday and wasn't supposed to go to work that day but i still felt fine.

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