With all the travel I have done, I never knew how bad jet lag could be until I returned from India.
Last fall I traveled LA to London – 8 time zones. No problem though I used melatonin to help with that trip. I went into three days of meetings and networking when I landed.
Toronto to Amman, Jordan – 7 time zones and I was a little tired but nothing that could interfere with the thrill of exploring that country.
Delhi to Toronto – 10 1/2 time zones and I thought I might die. Ok, an exaggeration but it was bad.
Jet Lag – More Than Simple Sleep Problems
The Mayo Clinic describes jet lag as a sleep disorder. I experienced it as much, much more. According to them it’s “estimated to take about a day to recover for each time zone crossed.” Yes, but that’s for the average traveler. Me? I travel all the time. This rule of thumb couldn’t apply to me.
Well, it did. I crossed ten time zones and today is day ten and I am finally, I think, I hope, back to normal.
Jet Lag is the result of messing with our circadian rhythm – as the website of the UK’s National Health Service says your “biological clock is usually synchronized with your local time so that you feel hungry in the morning and sleepy in the evening.” By shifting your day dramatically within a very short period of time (overnight), we experience the effects of jet lag. The NHS offers 19 symptoms. I had:
- sore muscles
- hunger but feeling ill if eating
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling disoriented
- lack of energy
- general feeling of being unwell
Jet Lag Remedies
The recommended remedies for jet lag include:
- living on the local schedule as quickly as possible
- avoiding naps
- drinking lots of water
- going outside and getting daylight
It seems to me that these are pretty logical if your jet lag problem is sleep. Follow this advice and you’ll shift your clock and be sleeping through the night on schedule in no time.
But if the jet lag goes beyond sleepiness to feeling ill, I can’t say that these work. At least, they don’t work quickly. If you have serious jet lag, I offer you my sympathies. Eat well. Sleep at night but nap in the day – I had to. Get some exercise in if possible to help your night sleep despite napping. Most importantly, hang in there. It will pass. Please know that you are not alone.
Now, hopefully with more energy and less time devoted to figuring out jet lag, I’ll write more interesting posts in the coming weeks.