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What to expect from jet lag for first timers to Asia?

What to expect from jet lag for first timers to Asia?

Mar 26th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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What to expect from jet lag for first timers to Asia?

DH and I are going to Japan in October, our first visit to Asia.

We have traveled quite extensively through Europe and my method of handling the jet lag is to basically take an Ambien right after I board the plane and sleep until about the time breakfast is served. This allows me to stay awake pretty easily for the first full day of my trip. I also take an Ambien at night so that I sleep all through the night as opposed to waking up, wide awake, at 3:00 in the morning.

Since Tokyo is a full 12 hours ahead of me (I'm in EST) I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with this so I arrive in Tokyo at least somewhat refreshed. Our flight arrives at about 3:30 pm I'm hoping to stay awake until a somewhat normal bedtime hour of maybe 10:00 pm or so. I plan on taking an Ambien when I sleep so that I will get a full nights sleep. I guess I'm trying to figure out what to do on the plane. Should I take an Ambien as soon as I get on the plane? Should I wait until several hours later so that I wake up closer to the time we land?

I know from experience that there is no surefire way to beat jetlag, but I'm trying to figure out how to make it as easy as possible. Any advice would be much appreciated!

tcreath is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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If you arrive at 3:30 PM, I'm guessing that you are leaving around mid-day and that you won't be much in the mood for sleep. I would wait until later in the day before trying to sleep. Since the flight is 15(?) hours, there will be plenty of time. Your idea of trying to stay up for a while when you get there is a good one. We have flown direct NYC to Bangkok (about 17 hours) a couple of times and find that this works pretty well. I think the most important thing to do for jet-lag prevention is to get some sleep during the flight over. No matter what you do, you'll still be feeling a little jet-lagged on your first day.
Craig is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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we also fly from the east coast...we usually depart around noon with a stop in the mid-west before hitting narita late in the afternoon....

we take a sleeping pill for the trans-pacific part of the trip...my wife sleeps well but i just doze...

we then have to fly 6 more hours to bkk arriving there about mid-night...
we are beat by then....we get into bed and only sleep a few hours, then we are up....that first day we are pretty useless and plan to lay low....that nite we go to bed early and the next day we are basically into our routine but also go to bed somewhat early that nite as well...

so my advice is not to plan to do all that much on day one and day two...save your busy days for later...

we do not use ambien so not sure how we would react...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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We felw to Narita last March (in fact a year ago today we were in Hiroshima). We arrived at the same time and flew out of Chicago, so I think you'll be leaving around noon.
I relaxed, ate and had a drink, watched a movie and then when they turned the lights down, I tried to sleep. Even though it was early our time I did manage to sleep about 6 hours total.

By the time you clear customs and get to your hotel, it will be 5 or 6PM. It shouldn't be too hard to stay up till 10 or 11.

We visited the fish market our first day because we woke up so early. I have found that I have my worst get lag flying east. I was dead for a week when we got home, but I was fine while in Japan.

Good luck and have fun. October should be beautiful.
angethereader is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. We are leaving from Charlotte with a layover in Chicago, where our flight leaves around 12:30 pm. I think we will try to stay awake for the first few hours, which shouldn't be hard considering I'm not usually asleep at noon on a weekday! Then we will take an Ambien and hopefully get 6-7 hours of sleep. I am worried about waking up really early so we will definitely be taking an Ambien before we go to bed, even if we are really tired, so we can sleep through the night.

Our first few days are in Tokyo. We have a list of things we want to do but will probably take it easy, see what we manage to see, and do lots of walking to try to fight some of the jetlag. Then its on to Kyoto.

Thanks again for your help!
tcreath is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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If I was on those flights I would take something mild as soon as I got on the plane (Ambian lasts about 4 hours for me so I'd probably take that). Then I'd put on my eye-mask and hunker down to sleep. (I usually bring my own food so I don't have to worry about missing a meal). Once I got there I'd try to stay away until 9:00 pm and then take something strong (I like Prosom) and 5mg of melatonin. If I did wake up in the middle of the night, I'd use Benydryl (sp?) to get back to sleep.

On the flight I wouldn't have any alcohol (especially when taking perscription sleeping pills), I'd try to eat lightly (lots of fruits and vegis, not so much carbs) and I'd try to drink a lot of water.

Sometimes jet lag can be a benefit though, especially in Tokyo where you could go early (5:30 am) to the Fish Market.

Good luck and have a fun trip!
PairofDiceLost is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 01:06 AM
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I swear by drinking water, and taking melatonin.

I drank tons and tons of water on my way over to Asia, and it seemed to help immensely. It helped that by the time I got to my hotel, it was about midnight or 1 am. I slept 8 hours, was a little tired but awake the next day, went to bed around 9 pm, slept until 7 am, and then was fine. I took melatonin for about 4 or 5 days, just to regulate my sleeping. It works for some people, but not for all.
rabidstoat is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Thanks again everyone for your helpful advise. I will try to drink lots of water (admittingly I'm not a big water drinker, although nothing my crystal light powder can't fix! ) I will also research the other methods and also talk to my doctor about what medication he thinks would be best given the situation.

I think I'll be ok. Although I've never been to Asia, I've never had much of a jetlag issue in Europe. Usually I'm too excited about seeing the sights, and I really do find that Ambien works well for me.

Thanks again,
tcreath is offline  
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