I owe an apology to anyone who’s ever experienced jet lag. I’m sorry that I would hear “I have jet lag” and translate it to “I’m a gigantic wimp and get cranky when I’m tired”. I’m sorry that I have proudly boasted about never getting jet lag, thinking that made me some kind of elite traveler. I am so sorry. Following up on that apology, I’ve recently experienced jet lag from hell. Evidently, it is not the same as being mildly confused by what time it is.
The last time I felt this bad was in Australia when I was only slightly above consciousness for a couple of days. Australia is not the kind of place to get an unknown bite mark and not seek medical attention but since I was too busy sweating, freezing, crying, and sleeping in public showers, that’s exactly what I did. Anyway, the fact that this jet lag reminded me of that experience says a lot.
I traveled from Florida to Newfoundland, where I stayed just long enough to unpack and repack before heading to London. They say that when it comes to traveling through time zones, west is best and east is a beast. They’re not wrong. After attempting sushi and taking the tube (mind your step) back to the apartment, I crawled into bed muttering something about how I had some work to do and wasn’t supposed to nap. All I wanted in the whole world was to be naked and lying down on top of a giant iceberg with hot towels hovering over my body. Instead, I had a fitful nap, woke up confused and irritated, and promptly stumbled my dizzy way to the bathroom to (excuse me for being tremendously ladylike) puke everywhere.
I spent the next few hours laying in a fetal position and staring at a bowl or raspberries willing myself to make a move.
I did a lot of Googling and blog reading, desperate to find an answer or a get-well-quick solution. Below, are some of the things that I found promising for preventing this from happening again. Even further below, you’ll find my sound advice on what to do when all the tips and tricks in the world still leave you crying over raspberries.
This is kind of the number one rule in life besides eating and breathing and, unsurprisingly, good for your health.
This goes hand in hand with staying hydrated.
I am such a big fan of airport bars. Recently, a flight I was taking kept getting more and more delayed and, in the end, was about eight hours behind schedule. I was in no state. I even wrote myself a note: “write a blog post on getting drunk by yourself in an airport”.
Sober me can’t seem to remember why that was such a good idea.
Since my affair with jet lag, I’ve vowed to no longer drink on the days I’m flying. No booze before, during, or directly after a flight. The things I do for a little peace.
Find someone who looks at you the way I look at melatonin after a beautiful sleep.
As with anything, make sure you research the side effects of anything you take. For me, the melatonin completely knocked me out which is exactly what I wanted it to do.
ADJUST YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Here’s where the melatonin really helps out. On my last flight from Aruba to London, I still had London time on my phone so it was easy to check the time, tell myself it was bedtime, and take a melatonin. Adjusting your sleep schedule allows your body to get used to the time change easily.
None of that worked and I feel like crap… what do I do now?
Avoid all responsibility and go to bed.
I know that a lot of advice on jet lag tells you to power through the day, don’t sleep until it’s bedtime, avoid naps, be a superhero! With all due respect to the professionals, screw that. There was absolutely no powering through my day during my jet lag. All I could do was sleep and you know what? Sleep helped. Eventually your body will get back on track and until then, tell everything and everyone to go away… except the person who will bring you raspberries.