As I prepare for my trip to the United Arab Emirates, I’m haunted by the fact that I do not handle jet lag very well. This post is meant to help you prepare for your next long-haul flight, as I’ve done the research for myself!
This photo was taken at a beautiful restaurant, while meeting family in the Netherlands the for the first time, the day after a 5.5hr flight to Amsterdam. We flew 6 hours and we gained 5hours on the clock. I just couldn’t handle it.
I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep I got in anticipation of our family trip or perhaps it was the unlimited wine I indulged in with my seat mate, a father of 2, that was separated by an aisle from his family on the KLM flight from Toronto.
Whatever it was, it became a nightmare. At dinner I couldn’t keep from falling asleep. My mom was so embarrassed. My brother laughed. I’ll NEVER forget the feeling as I was going down, slowly, looking at my mom whispering “I can’t help it, I’m sorry.”
My return was bad too. For some reason, I felt really woozy. I thought it was a Tuesday, when it was a Thursday. Just messing up simple things. I was yawning ALL THE TIME, and this all lasted about 4 days.
So naturally, I am serious about making sure that my 14 hour flight to Abu Dhabi and 15.5hour flight from Dubai doesn’t ruin my trip or mess me up on my return.
According to my research, these are the top 5 ways to beat jet lag:
1) Sleeping Pills – DO NOT USE THESE is pretty much what every website says. So, on to the next.
2) Sleep pattern – I don’t know about you, but I can only stay up late, I can’t go to bed early. Trying to figure out when to go to bed is another thing. I found this really helpful advisor tool/calculator that British Airlines provides (click HERE). I am going to force myself to try this method and add a few extra days of ‘trying’ to the overall effort.
3) Water – I recently sat next to a lady on a Porter Airlines flight from Toronto to NYC. Our conversation started as we were beginning to descend. I quickly learned she was an executive that traveled 3 weeks out of each month, every year. (TIP: You don’t want to start a convo early on a flight in case they are TOO chatty!). We got to talking and two great tips came out of the brief conversation. First, was that I must visit Museum Hotel in Turkey which is located inside of a cave! Second, was her tip to beat jet lag: “Drinks LOTS and LOTS of water.” Her eyes widened and I know she meant A LOT. It reminded me, I once heard Dr. Oz say that you are only drinking too much water when you are drowning.
4) No alcohol – Ugh!
5) Melatonin – My research keeps saying it is ‘controversial,’ but if you know you are susceptible to jet lag, you may want to try every and anything.
Are you easily effected by jet lag? What has worked or what has not worked for you in the past?
Leave a comment or tweet me at @urban_traveler