Dealing with Jet Lag

Posted: November 9, 2011    Categories: Travel

I arrived in London on Monday from Los Angeles and suffered one of the worst cases of Jet Lag I’ve had in my life. I went almost 48 hours with only an hour of sleep and then followed it up with a 14 hour sleep session on Tuesday.

Despite all the traveling I’ve done over the last 5 years, I actually haven’t suffered from jet lag that much. First, I have mostly been moving to the west and I find it easier to go west than it is going east. Second, I haven’t required that many long flights. When I started in 2007 in the Pacific I mostly had short flights that didn’t require a lot of time adjustment. What long flights I’ve had usually had a large north/south component to it (New York to Johannesburg).

Two week ago when I flew to New Zealand, the flight was longer but the jet lag issues were much less. Most of the distance between LA and Auckland is north/south. The actual time difference is only 4 hours (well, it is technically 18 hours given the international date line…) When I arrived in New Zealand I didn’t have to really adjust at all. I just woke up early most days and for the duration of my stay I was just an early bird.

Going from LA to London, however, is another kettle of fish. It is almost all east/west. The time difference is 8 hours. In theory the flight was an overnight flight, but given the time my body was on and how hard it is for me to sleep on an airplane seat, I arrived in London without a wink of sleep.

I’ve heard of all sorts of tips for getting over jet lag from taking melatonin to vitamin supplements. In the end, I think there is really only one way to deal with it: get yourself really tired and then sleep. Going a day without sleep and then sleeping for 14 hours probably doesn’t sound like fun, but it works. I’m basically adjusted to London time in only 2 days.

The one thing I would recommend is not drinking any alcohol for the first few days after a long trip. Drinking probably isn’t going to help anything.

What do you do to get over jet lag?

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