February 15, 2011

The secret to avoiding jet lag

Many people can’t believe I went to Europe just for the weekend, and the most common question I’m getting is about the jet lag. After seeing how people behaved on the planes I took, I totally get why it’s such a common problem! So many people do it all wrong. Here’s the trick:

For my flight schedule, I had a 5:30pm flight from Washington to Madrid, landing at 7am. I tried to go to bed pretty much immediately after boarding – that would mean 6 hours of sleep, which would be almost a full night. To do that, I had no caffeine at all on flight day, and then popped a sleeping pill when I boarded. (Okay, so maybe not the most natural/healthy way to do it, but I had no problems with the time difference when I was in Europe.) I slept most of the way, had tons of coffee all day when I got to Europe, and it worked – the small discomfort I felt the first day was worth it, because I was totally on a European schedule for the rest of the trip.

On the way home, I had a 10:45am flight out of Madrid that got into Washington at 2pm. This is the tough direction for me – it meant that when I landed, my body would think it was 8pm and almost time to get ready for bed, instead of the middle of the day. The trick here? Again, as soon as you get on the plane, pretend you’re in the time zone of where you are going. For this trip, instead of napping on the plane, I planned for an extra, super long day, and drank lots of coffee. Most of the people on my flight slept for the entire second half of the trip, which made no sense to me at all. I suppose it’s one way to pass the time, but now what time is your poor confused body going to think it is when you land? I used caffeine to keep me up until about 10pm, then got a well-deserved good night’s sleep. As a result, I woke up this morning when my alarm went off at 7am, refreshed and all set to face the day.

Another weekend trip to Europe, anyone? Count me in!


3 thoughts on “The secret to avoiding jet lag”

  1. Awesome! The trouble with flying most places from the West Coast is the inevitable layover, which means delaying a sleeping pill.

    The upside is all the awesome central American countries are only an hour time difference from us, if at all. Not as rad as Europe, but still pretty nice.

  2. I am not a seasoned flyer (like yours truly)


    I honestly believe in being fit pays bigger dividends than anything for dealing with new time zones.

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