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Wondering the best way to avoid jet lag...

Wondering the best way to avoid jet lag...

Old Jul 9th, 2005, 10:52 PM
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Wondering the best way to avoid jet lag...

#1- I have already read multiple posts about this; most of them mention some pill called Jet Lag, which I am looking into further.

#2- I just booked my flight to go to N. Ireland. I leave Sep 18 from Omaha at 11:30ish and then have a small layover in Newark. I depart Newark at 7pm-ish and arrive in Belfast 7am their time-ish. Here's my problem: 7am their time is 1am my time. I would just waste my whole first day, since I will be there three months, and sleep, but I have to do registration and orientation stuff for school, so I have to be up the whole day.

I guess more than how to avoid jet lag is how, if you are super tired because of jet lag, do you keep yourself awake? I know I'll be tempted on the way from Belfast to Coleraine to sleep, but since I'll be using either the train or some other form of public transportation, I don't want to sleep (plus, just think of all the pretty countryside I'd be missing!) So, how do you keep yourself awake when you are super tired from jet lag?


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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 02:08 AM
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Jet Lag; There is no way to avoid it! Polite suggestion, Discuss this concern with airline personnel. I talked with a now retired pilot; he told me that even after three years of retirement he was still troubled with jet lag. You can treat jet lag as you would a slight cold, ignore it.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 02:19 AM
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Yeah lots written about jet lag. My suggestion is forget about comparing origin and destination times. As soon as you leave the US change your watch to the time in Ireland. Don't think about what time it would be at home and what you would be doing. Think in terms of the Belfast clock. Snatch some sleep on the plane if you can. Then go the bed early on your first night there. This seems to work for me and I travel from Australia to Europe!

Good luck
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 04:58 AM
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Start the day before you leave - - to "get yourself on Belfast time". The day before departure, get up at 4:30 am an go to bed that night before 10 pm. The day OF departure, get up at 3;30 am. By the time you reach the tarmac at Newark, it will feel like midnight to you (which it actually is, in Belfast), and you will be exhausted. Discuss a sleeping medication with a doctor. Ambien is safe and effecive.

Eat light - - fruit only is a good idea - - all that day and drik lot of water.

Do not take the supper they offer you on the flight, but rather, ask the flight attendant to bring it to you at the same time they bring your (light) breakfast. Be polite about it. Tell her/him you don't care which choice you get, and you don't care if they reheat it (they might anyway).

No movies; no chit-chat with your seat mate. Go to sleep as soon as you sit down. You can do it. Or at least 5-6 hours.

Have a great trip.

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers, M.D.
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:26 AM
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I've tried everything and I simply cannot sleep in an airplane seat (at least in coach!) Every flight, I find myself staring at the seatback map display - watching the agonizingly slow progress, pixel by pixel, across the Atlantic. I have just ressigned myself to the fact and have developed a "first day" strategy that works for me.

That first day, it's not so much jet lag as it is having missed a night's sleep. So I go against the traditional advice against taking a nap - BUT, I limit it to no more than an hour power-nap once I check into my hotel. That seems to be just enough (along with vacation adrenaline) to keep me going the rest of the day. I can then manage to stay awake until 10 or 11 PM, get a great night's sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning.

I find that actual jet lag hits on the second day. Since my body clock hasn't yet adjusted to the time difference, I take a PM before bedtime on the second night. After that, I'm fine for the rest of the trip.

In your case, if you don't get any sleep on the plane, allow yourself a short nap on the train. If you're really tired, you may not be able to avoid it. It's very easy to fall asleep on a train - that steady, rythmic movement can easily lull you to sleep. And if you have to be up the rest of the day, you might have to forego some of the scenery.

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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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I just got back from a trip to Japan, which is really a challenge in terms of travelling time and in the differences in time between our country and theirs. I tried No Jet Lag pills, which I got at Whole Foods. They may have helped a little. Worth a try. You keep taking them throughout the flight, every 2 hours unless you are sleeping. Melatonin also helped me adjust to the time change for sleeping, after a few days there. But I agree there is no great solution. My usual way of handling it when I go to Europe is to take a 2-3-hour nap when I arrive. The hardest thing in the world is getting yourself up after that, when your alarm goes off. Your body wants to stay in bed. I force myself to get up, take a shower, drink some strong tea, then go out in the sunshine. That helps me more than anything. But it sounds like you won't have time for a nap. So the second best thing, which I've also done, is to keep yourself going all day and stay up into the evening until you just have to crash -- maybe 9 p.m. Drink tea and get sun during the day. You will be surprised how you can do it. But at times waves of sleepiness will come over you. Since you have a lot to do, that will help you stay awake. Good luck and have a wonderful time!
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Just go with the flow. Do all the usual stuff, eat and drink on the plane, watch the movies. Think of it as 'down time' where you aren't required to do anything else. Enjoy the journey. Arrive at the other end with so much fun ahead of you there's no time for jet lag.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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I agree with gertie - travel is such an adventure that I do not feel tired - until late the first night on the ground, when I crash.

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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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If you can, try and resist the temptation to sleep in the daytime when you first arrive. It's better to keep yourself awake until local nightime; makes for a tough first day but it means you do adjust much more quickly.

As other people have said:
* Get out and about, especially in the daytime. Do some gentle walking, which will help keep you awake
* Try and stick to local mealtimes, to ground your body to the fact that it's dinner time ( a glass or two of wine helps, if you're me!)
* I've found melatonin to be great. Taking a tablet at bedtime helps you reset your body clock. It might even help you sleep on the plane, so you can get some rest and be fresher when you get there.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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What I would love some advice on is overcoming the jet lag when coming back from vacation.

I find that the adrenaline and the excitement of being at my destination fuels my first day. I pretty much follow what others have said about a brief nap in the early afternoon, then I go out again around 5, wander, look for a place to eat dinner. I try to eat late, 8PM or so, then I sleep a full night and don't really feel bothered by jet lag after that. (Its the five miles of walking that can do me in!)

But when I get back. Oh my gosh. I feel like I am dying. For about a week. Every day is worse than the day before. No matter how much sleep I get or when I get it, no matter how hard I try to get back on a regular schedule, I am barely functioning. Any pills or advice for that?
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:34 AM
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Work the day after you get back. I find dealing with a class of rambunctious students does wonders for staying awake. Pure survival.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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<Here's my problem: 7am their time is 1am my time.>

That kind of thinking is your first mistake!! When you step off the plane (or some people do it earlier in the flight) change your watch to local time and DO NOT compare it to "well back home it's..."

Some people take naps, some just carry on. Jet lag is a very individual thing. I would never worry about falling asleep myself, because jet lag feels more like the flu to me, not simply the need for sleep. when you get <super tired because of jet lag> sometimes I even find it very difficult to sleep at all, like when you are terribly overtired but wound up at the same time.

Since you have to do stuff your first day, I don't see you have much choice, but to just go with it.

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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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You could get a prescription from your doctor for something like Ambien, and possibly then you would sleep on the plane.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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All the suggestions above are good, and here's another one. Spend as much time as you can in the sun after your arrival. The sun causes the body to manufacture some hormone which helps the body adjust its biological clock to adjust to the new external clock.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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I think there is some relationship between jetlag and dehydration. And dehydration on a long flight is a big issue. Avoid alcohol, soft drinks and anything with caffeine...or if you do drink these, make yourself drink a glass of water for each of these. (some of these drinks actually contribute to dehydration. Plain water is best, but herbal teas and 100% fruit juices are good.
This won't protect you from real "jetlag" but at least you won't have dehydration contributing to the jetlag problem.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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I swear by Ambien for the flight over -- it ensured that I had four or five hours of solid sleep on the way, so that I could start the first day abroad on a normal schedule (and with no grogginess). However, I haven't figured out what to do on the return to the states -- I am a zombie for about a week!
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I agree with the above poster. My friend Gayle told me that when she arrives in her destination, she draws a bath and soaks in the tub a bit--that seems to help with the dehydration and she's perky and ready to go! I've started doing that and I think she's onto something there.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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We've always started 2-3 days before we leave going to bed earlier and earlier.

If you'll sleep as much as you can on the flight, you won't have jet lag problem.

Have never had a problem up until the last 2 flights we had to Europe...we had the 2 seats directly in front of the only all night talkers on the plane!

Yes-they absolutely stayed up telling jokes, laughing, and talking loudly all night with no consideration whatsoever for all the other passengers on the plane who were sleeping.

Hopefully, with 2 in a row of talkers, we'll get back to being able to sleep on our trip in Sept!
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Here is my way of dealing with the jet lag condition.

As you all know, traveling large distances at such a fast rate of speed causes severe fatigue.

For those of you all who can snooze on a plane, I envy you in that, but I can not sleep on an airplane.

So here is what I do. Upon arrival at my destination, I get checked into the hotel, I always take a 2-3 hour nap. Then freshen up for a late afternoon dinner, followed by a stroll around the area, usually Zurich for me since I overnight in Zurich before setting off the next day for the mountains.

By 9-10 PM that same evening, I am ready for a nice sleep. Since I only slept 2-3 hours earlier in the day, I can get back to sleep that night.

I guess many of us who travel have their own little way of dealing with jet lag. That is how I deal with mine.

I suggest overnighting at the arrival city if you can do that. Some people get in their rented cars or the trains and set off upon arrival. I can not do this since the jet lag problems can also cause several minor problems as well.

Sleep usually corrects any minor discomforts.

That is my way of dealing with this condition known as jetlag.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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I wear the eyeshades they pass out and use the headphones tuned to very quiet music. This helps block out the distractions on the plane. I still don't actually sleep but I kind of fall into a daze which is better than reading magazines and figiting around all night.
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