Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Jet lag? -7 day April trip from Boston, MA USA to Spain

Jet lag? -7 day April trip from Boston, MA USA to Spain

Feb 26th, 2009, 06:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 50
Jet lag? -7 day April trip from Boston, MA USA to Spain

I will go to Spain w/ my wife to see our college son from April 17th to the 25th..
We are limited to just that week, due to job constraints. Also, we can't go during the summer.
When he left for Spain in January his flight departed at 8:30 PM. We expect that we'll take a similar flight.
I have a chronic sleep problem .
Any advice on dealing w/ the jet lag when we return on the 25th?
I am 67 and not sure what to expect .
Thank you
LostinBoston is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,911
It's possible that you'll have more problems eastbound than you will westbound with acquiring adequate rest and adjusting to time zone differentials.

My suggestions:

1. Sleep as much as possible overnight eastbound.

2. Limit or avoid alcohol en route

3. Avoid afternoon naps, it makes sleeping at the normal bedtimes more difficult.
Sarastro is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,380
I found the jet-lag worse on the way to Europe.
It is a problem for many people. The only way I can deal with it is to take a sleeping pill at night. I asked my doctor for a prescription ...rather than buying over the counter.
danon is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 512
I always have awful jet lag I never, ever can plan anything the first day of my trip...I'm too grumpy to enjoy it!

Sarastro is right though - I'm usually fine on the way home...coming back to the US always seems much, much easier....you get home in the afternoon tired anyway...so, the trick, for me is to stay awake...we usually head out to dinner after we drop our bags and shower at home just to get out of the house and stay up! then, we hit the grocery store and come home and collapse into bed ;-) We're up early the next day...but I never have that horrible feeling I get going the other direction. I would just plan on taking it easy that first day you arrive and you'll be fine.
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618

What to expect (if you are like me, and most people, I think):

Eastbound, you may find it hard to sleep on board, but try to anyway. They do turn off all the lights and give out blankets and pillows after dinner, which helps. I find it helps to try and stay warm. Since your flight is so late, consider skipping the onboard meal (eat before you go), and use those eyeshade thingies to try and block the light during the meal.

When you arrive the next morning, you will be tired and bleary-eyed. I prefer to take a nap as soon as possible after arriving, but it is important to not let it turn into a full-out sleep, which just delays the adjustment. Others prefer to stay awake all day, then crash into a deep sleep in the evening.

Either way, try to make the day of arrival not too busy. Things will be much better after the first day, although you may have periods of drowsiness. Coffee helps.

Westbound is not nearly so difficult. It just feels like a long day and you will be glad to go to bed at regular bedtime. Expect to wake up in the early morning for a few days after arriving.
capxxx is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,337
As a chronic insomniac (BAD - I sleep well on average about three days per month!) East is ok for me but coming home (West) is torture on my system. I never nap when I arrive in Europe but take sleeping pills at least the first night. If you do manage a good sleep your first night you are good to go. Once I had jet lag for 17 days after arriving home from a trip. It was awful - I keep having to go to bed at 6 p.m. and got up at 2 a.m. Melatonin, Ambien, etc. don't work for me but perhaps it would for you. I have never, ever even come close to sleeping on any flight, unfortunately.

However, I would rather have the problem returning home rather than whilst on vacation in Europe! The best of luck to you.
travel2live2 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 17
I am leaving out of Chicago to Spain in June. KLM is "in the process" of changing ALL their flights to Europe(my flight changed from 8pm to 4pm, even though I get to Madrid at the same time) and NWA says Air France is even worse! My point: I was told that flights were getting changed by all the airlines, so maybe your plane will change too! Good Luck! (This wasn't helpful, eh?)
ritaozaukee is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 730

Definitely do not sleep more than 2 hours on arrival so you can eat dinner at normal European hour and be ready for sleep.

It helps to get out in the daylight when you arrive unless you plan on napping. The light helps reset the body's "clock" due to the fact that melatonin release is affected by light.

Search for the jet-lag diet on the web. A few years back there was info out there about eating protein at specific times depending if you were heading east or west...may be helpful in pre trip "adjusting"...I've never tried it.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Jet lag usually hits a few hours after arrival, but shouldn't be as bad as flying in from the west coast since there is only a 6 hour time difference. As already noted, getting a few hours of sleep on the plane helps, but is not a cure-all. We always take a nap (siesta) after lunch and go out for the evening, usually in time for tapas/pintxos and a lot of walking, returning to the hotel in time for a regular night's sleep. I usually feel pretty good the next morning.

If you are planning on driving the day of your arrival, note that it can be dangerous, regardless of the distance. We usually drive no more than three hours before stopping for the night.

I normally don't suffer from jet lag on the return trip. Flying from Madrid to Boston Is not much different than flying from the east coast to the west coast since your flight should be during daylight hours.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,160
These are repeats but it a little list I had compiled from other websites to aviod jet lag and to stay healthy in general:

1. Treat yourself well before you fly. Exercise, eat well & go to bed early on the weeks prior to departure. Plan your work schedule well ahead so that you donít end up staying at work late the night before you travel.

2. Avoid caffeine, it dehydrates you. Expert travelers recommend avoiding or limiting coffee, sodas & (sorry ) alcoholic beverages when flying long haul.

3. Stay away from salty foods like nuts & pretzels when traveling. Likewise foods excessively high in sugar.

4. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before & during flights. Itís a good idea to stay hydrated all though your trip.

5. Though there is some controvery about this, some start taking extra vitamin C, ďAirborneĒ or a similar product 2-3 days before & during the flight.

6. Use a hand sanitizer frequently at airports and on the plane. Upon boarding wipe down your food tray etc. with antibacterial wipes.

7. Reset your internal clock ASAP. Immediately upon departure, set your watch to the destinationís time. (Some people even do this a day or two in advance!) Resist the urge to dwell continually on what time it is back home.

8. Be comfortable. Wear non-binding clothes, socks & shoes. (Fellows, wear you old stretched out BVDS & save the new thong underwear for later on .) Take a neck pillow &/or your favorite wrap. Avoid using the blankie provided on the planeÖ.it may not be so clean.

9. Every so often refresh yourself. Brush your teeth. Wash your face. Get up and stretch on a regular basis to encourage circulation. Do foot circles & point your toes while in your seat.

10. Upon arrival, get out in the daylight & breathe. (Remember youíve been breathing recycled air.) At the hotel, resist the urge to take a very long nap. This is most important in avoiding jet lag. A deep nap for several hours upon arrival may prolong that lagged feeling. If you must nap make it no more than 1 hour. Settle in, freshen up quickly & unpack later. Take a walk outdoors. Then plan to make the first night an early night.

Hope that helps.....

amsdon is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,997
I have more problem after I get back to the States than I do at the beginning of my vacation in Europe. I usually take an ambien and sleep a bit on the plane, at least enough so that on my first day in Europe I can at least explore my "neighborhood". But when I get back to the States, I suffer for about a week - I want to go to sleep at 6 pm and then of course I am wide awake at 2 am. At work I droop! And plus the vacation is over!!!
suec1 is online now  
Feb 26th, 2009, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,416
Everybody is different. For me, jet lag always seems worse coming back to Boston than it does going to Europe. But going to Europe presents the problem of an overnight flight, during which I get little if any sleep.

So when I get to my destination, I usually go out for a short while and come back for an afternoon nap. There is no way I can stay up all night and then all day before going to sleep. But this allows me to have dinner late as they do in Spain. For the first couple of days, before I have fully adjusted to the time change, I enjoy the late night hours of Europe (and they are especially late in Spain!) and can get in some nightlife before I revert to type and start wanting to go to bed at 11:00.

I just noticed that you are asking about readjusting when you return to Boston. That takes me several days, but the advantage is that I am not touring once I get home, and I can catch up on my sleep. I think the advice I read is that it takes most people a day to recuperate for each hour of the time change.
Nikki is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,160
I must admit I am a zombie for several days too after getting back home. Travel2live wow that is a bigtime jet lag, 17 days.
Poor thing!
amsdon is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:34 AM.