How to survive the Jet Lag
Hello lovelies! I’m back from my meanderings and I have LOADS of blog post ideas that I can’t wait to share with you, and since I’m writing this as I struggle to keep my eyes open I thought I’d start with some good old How To list-style post and talk about how to deal with jet lag.
Over the past years I’ve had my share of travelling, so you would think by now I’d know how to tackle it.
When I flew back home last Christmas it took me ten days to completely recover from the time difference, whereas this time round, in spite of not sleeping AT ALL for 67 hours, all it took was an eight-hour good night’s sleep and I was back on my feet like nothing had happened.
When I flew from London to San Francisco I never really adjusted (I woke up at 2.37am for three nights in a row, which is disturbingly creepy if you think about it); I was never really sleepy and I would just go to bed early due to being physically exhausted after walking 30km a day every day (this is why it’s so hard to find someone to go on holidays with).
Now that I’ve been back in Wellington for five days I’m just starting to readjust. Since I’ve been back I’ve been feeling queasy and constantly dizzy, like I’m about to pass out. I’ve been falling asleep at 4pm every day but then also struggling to wake up in the morning. My joints have been hurting and the inside of my nose is very dry.
So I guess I’m not the best person to give you any advice on how to not look like a hot, bewildered mess when you get off the plane. Plus there are so many contradicting information out there it’s hard to decide what piece of advice to follow.
They say it takes you the same amount of days to recover from the jet lag as however many hours of time difference you need to recover from (this was very hard to phrase. Say the time difference from the country you’re travelling from an the country you’re currently in is nine hours, it’s gonna take you nine days to readjust).
They also say:
Sleep on the plane!
Don’t sleep on the plane!
Fly by day!
Fly by night!
Stay awake when you arrive!
Take a nap as soon as you land!
The one thing I always try to do is listen my body and just take it easy. But for the rest, I’ll be honest with you: I have no idea how to deal with jet lag.
So here is a little overview of my personal strategy to get back on track after a long flight and look like I know what I’m doing.
Avoid the jet lag in the first place
If you’re in for a long, exhausting intercontinental flight, break it down if possible. Spend something like 12 hours in a stop-over location, check into a hotel, take a shower and get some sleep. Your future self will thank you at your final destination.
Take it easy on the coffee
Contrary to popular belief, coffee is not that good for you. It dehydrates you - and personally it doesn’t even help keep me awake. After hours on a plane, your insides most likely look like a dried prune, so drinks plenty of water instead!
Eat proper food
Plane food is definitely starting to resemble real meals, but in all truth it still sucks. I tend to eat very little while flying and I always feel sick after being on a plane for days on end, so when I finally get there having a nice, proper meal is great to get all my nutrients and will to live back.
Listen to your body
Rest when you feel like you need to, eat when you’r hungry, just in general don’t push it too much. One thing I’ve noticed - still related to food - is that I’m normally not hungry when I wake up and my first meal of the day is usually around mid-morning, whereas since I’ve been back I’ve been waking up feeling super hungry. Adjusting my schedule in tune with my needs is helping my body re-acclimatise quicker and more naturally.
But not too much
Remember your internal clock is set on a different time and place, so your body will tell you to do things that might feel a little incongruous. Therefore it’s also good to try and stick to appropriate eating and sleeping times. If you keep on going to bed at 3pm because that’s when you are naturally falling asleep, it’s gonna take way longer for your body to readjust. So maybe take a quick nap to recharge but then plough though and stay awake until the evening.
Stick to a routine
Having things to do, like going to work, obviously is gonna help you stick to a schedule. I had three days off before I had to show up at work so I made sure I had plenty of things to do and errands to run in order to keep myself entertained instead of slouching on the couch and snoozing at inconvenient times.
Maybe, like, don’t travel that much
For me, travelling through 21 time zones and having to reset my clock five times within less than a month was, to put it bluntly, a full-on consuming torture. Obviously the fact that I live at the bottom of the world means that every time I get on a plane I’m in for a Serious Trip, but next time I fly to the opposite hemisphere I’m probably only going to visit one place and break the journey down a little more.
It’s now 11 in the morning and I don’t understand if I’m hungry or sick. I kind of feel like I’m about to pass out and all want to do is crawl on the couch and sleep, instead I’m gonna drag my sorry ass out of the house and go for a walk in this beautiful and unexpected sun, and hopefully I’ll be done with this shit by the end of the week. Until then, stay tuned and speak soon!