Coping with jetlag!

Nov 13th, 2004, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 450
We travel often and we cope with jet lag when we fly to Europe and going there is not that bad. Here is what we do:
1. Sleep a little on a plane (take some benadryl or tylenol pm. We try not to use other medication beacuse we do not know how it will interefere with other medications we take.
2. absolutely no alcohol or caffeine on the flight
3. a lot's of water to drink
4. on arrival, refresh, rest a little, take care of phone calls, etc, and go out in daylight. Easy meals first day, early dinner. Coffee during the day.
5. Early to bed. around 9. We usually wake up maybe one time but then fall asleep and next morning we are ok.

Traveling on vacation is much easier to cope with jet lag then to come home. After coming home, it takes me almost a week to get back to normal, usually in the evening I am wasted after 8pm.

But it is not as bad as coping with Asia Jet Lag. After Asia trip, trip to Europe is much better.

There is a suggestion which I never tried myself beacuse we never have enough time - waste a day.

Instead of having fly from Easy Coast US overnight flight (conveninent to fly after work and next morning you are in Europe!), consider taking day flight. For example, many day flight to london arrive in the evenning, so it is just you day is a but extended. You arrive in the evening to Europe and go to bed. Should be easier.

I will try it when I will retire!!!!

emtravel is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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My strange problem is: Other than a couple of times, I've only gotten really jet lagged on return home and not so much at my destination. While the talk of east-bound or west-bound effects make sense, this has been true for the most part whether we've traveled either direction. I'm beginning to think my jet lag has a lot more to do with going back to work than it does flying!

I'll sure agree with emtravel though. Once you go trans-pacific (we're about equal distances from either US coast and travel to Australia often), that trans-atlantic stuff is a piece of cake.
Clifton is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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StCirq and LoveItaly- what is funny about the West/East vs East/West jet lag problem is it has been different for me different trips. The first couple times to Europe I was wasted for the first 5 days. My most recent trip this summer I miraculously was fine upon arrival, but suffered terribly after I returned home.

So I'll reiterate I firmly believe that jet-lag is individual, further not always consistent for the same person:

Sleep on the plane; don't sleep on the plane

Drink alcohol; don't drink

Take sleeping medications; go natural or with homeopathics

Take a nap upon arrival; stay awake

Jet-lag is no big deal; jet-lag is awful
suze is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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As others have said, you will have to figure out what works for you.

The formula that works for us is:

Arrive early AM in London (after overnight flight from east coast, US). Get through baggage, customs, etc.

Go directly to hotel. Check in if possible.

Nap. Not more than 2 hours.

Get up, shower, dress and leave hotel.


Sightsee, walk around.

Eat again.

After-dinner long walk (seeing the beauty of the floodlit buildings makes it easy to walk fairly long distances and not feel tired).

Back to hotel and to bed ("normal" or slightly early...maybe 9:00 to 10:00).

Up at usual time in morning and off we go.

If you can't check into your hotel, at least drop off your luggage. Go for a walk and have lunch, then come back to the hotel and check-in. Nap, have dinner, go for long walk and to bed at a normal time.

This works perfectly for me, my husband, my parents, the other family members I've traveled with and the two friends I've gone "across the pond" with.

It's just our experience, and I hope it's helpful to you.

leonberger is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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I have to agree that the way your body handles jet lag is a very personal thing. On my first trip to Europe, I tried to follow the usual advice (which does work for many people) - do not nap, get outside, try to go to bed at a reasonable but early time. I have to say I failed miserably. Upon our arrival in Paris, we went for a walk, had lunch outside, walked from Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel tower and that is the last thing I remember... I collapsed on the bench next to the Eiffel tower and somehow my husband managed to get me on the Metro and we made it back to the Parisian suburbs (we were staying with my aunt that time). As I said I have no recollection of that trip back whatsoever. I think he put me to bed at 6 pm. I spent the next three days suffering from the worst jet lag of my life.

So needless to say, on the subsequent trips I decided to give the napping strategy a chance. And it turned out to work beautifully for me - have a nap after lunch, proceed with not too strenuous evening plans, go to bed 10ish and I have not had to worry about jet lag again. Interestingly enough, I only get jet lagged going to Europe. Neither coming back, nor going to and from California from Boston gives me jet lag - I just tend to go to sleep and wake up a bit earlier for a day or two.

Of course, not being able to sleep on planes might contribute to the severity of a jet lag - I tend to get sick whenever sleep deprived. No amount of Sominex/Benadryl/Ambien/Zanax seems to help with sleeping in a siting position bit. You might be lucky and be able to catch some sleep. That should definitely help.
kasperdoggie is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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kasperdoggie, My doctor told me some people are physically unable to sleep sitting up. Somehow this was a comforting piece of information, since I'm obviously one of them!
suze is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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OH Suze! Don't be sucj a big wuss!!! Jetlag is part of the experience! If you are that opposed to it then stay home!! Go to Epcot. Then you can tell people you've seen the Eiffel tower and the leaning tower of Pisa in one day and you suffered no jetlag. They'll speak English there too!
Nov 13th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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EEEhhh, that was nice!!!
Anyway, yes, jetlag is the worst and I hate! It takes me only 2 days but I know that I am a wicked [email protected]#$& until I get adjust!!! My husband is so patient with me, thank GOD!! Not drinking too much caffeine helps.
Nov 13th, 2004, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
No Jetlag and Ambien seem to work for me going over, but part of it is my excitement, no doubt. They seem to help coming back, but I still get a bit jetlagged, but part of it is probably the usual "after vacation" letdown.
artlover is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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I always believed jet lag was part psychological and part physiological.
Everyone seems to have their own pattern to cope with it. Some people must take a nap upon arrival, others must avoid napping at all costs.
Some people think a big meal is needed upon arrival, others would rather a light lunch.
I don't think there is one right answer. If you travel frequently, you already know what works for you.
Personally, the excitement of the journey itself is the "drug" that keeps me going. Somewhere during the initial day, I need a 2 hour nap, strong espresso, moderate-sized meal, and brisk walk (not necessarily in that order). I never sleep on the plane, use sleeping pills or booze it up on the plane ride over.
platzman is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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I agree everyone is different. For me, for some reason the 6 hour time change from East Coast to Europe is hardest for me. In contrast, SE Asia 12 hours I have less that weird?

For Europe, I've done everything from drinking (not recommended) to sleeping aids (knock me out night time cold formulas)...the latter only makes me groggy on arrival. I usually just get a lack of sleep the night before I fly so more prone to sleep in-flight. First few nights in Europe its hard to get to sleep before 1am....but then the drinking does help and recommended

But generally I find the less I think or worry about it the quicker I adjust.

On the otherhand, if you don't want any jetleg sail over on the QM2.
Traveler863 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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I do not understand why some people say so emphatically DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL on the flight. Why not? I do it every time, except on domestic flights when I don't care to pay the outrageous price. Why whine about the free wine while you fly to Europe?
hopscotch is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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I mean to excess...getting socked is no way to arrive Europe, not only tired but more deyhydrated than ordinary drinking. But sure its fine to have a couple drinks...relax fall asleep, no harm.

Harm to me once was a flight back from Europe, in my younger days of course, free drinks, drank like a fish....back the days with a smoking section and had a group of people playing cards. Well it was the fast 8.5 trip I've ever taken. But arriving customs they realized our state and could only laugh, needless to say they didn't ask us any difficult questions. The good ole days
Traveler863 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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When I took my first ever transatlantic flight in 1990, I consumed 4 or 5 beers on the way. Part of that was nervousness regarding the flight itself. My grandma's words kept circulating through my head, "Why would you want to go fly over the water like that?"
Anyway, when we landed, I not only suffered from jetlag, but also from a headache and a hangover.
platzman is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 09:48 PM
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Alcohal dehydrates you at that altitude that is why people don't drink. I sip the wine with the meals if it is good wine. I also take a xanax but it hasn't worked so far with putting me to sleep, I may have dozed a few minutes on overseas flights.

I have been taking No Jetlag the last few trips and it seems to work, maybe just the placebo effect.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 09:50 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention that as the plane lands I pop some strong vitamin B's for a pep up.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 11:36 PM
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west to east is hardest for me by far. This last trip we were upgraded to business class from SFO to Paris. Even still, while I slept and could walk about Paris the next day, I suffered some pretty intense nausea for about 3 days. Mind you this was with hydrating, minimal ETOH etc. East to West is very little problem for me. Folks I know swear by the homopathic "No Jet Lag".
PamSF is offline  
Nov 15th, 2004, 05:24 PM
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This has been very interesting how jet lag effects everyone. I got my issue of Travel and Leisure in the mail a couple of days ago and there is a short article about jet lag. I've used ambien for years and it works for me. But this month fda approves a new drug Estorra which works a little different you still does off in 30 minutes but will sleep up to 7 hours. But is strongly recommended to try once before traveling. Good luck everytime is different for me. Have a great trip.
jlsayre is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 605
My time-worn, beats-all, sure-fire remedy for jetlag :

Step 1: Go buy a turkey
Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey, scotch, or JD
Step 3: Put turkey in the oven
Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey
Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens
Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink
Step 7: Turn oven the on
Step 8: Take 4 whisks of drinky
Step 9: Turk the bastey
Step 10: Whiskey another bottle of get
Step 11: Stick a turkey in the thermometer
Step 12: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey
Step 13: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours
Step 14: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 15: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 16: Floor the turkey up off the pick
Step 17: Turk the carvey
Step 18: Get yourself another scottle of botch
Step 19: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey
Step 20: Bless the saying, pass and eat out
fehgeddaboudit is offline  
Nov 16th, 2004, 12:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Okay, Okay. I actually learned that here, on Fodor's. Good recipe, though, aint it?
fehgeddaboudit is offline  

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