Taking off in Toronto, Canada. Photo taken April 28th.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Where are they going next? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. Arrive April 29th.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How we avoid jet lag!

Flying across time zones can be hard on your system. We've done it a lot of times over the past four years, and I think we've learned how best to minimize the effects of jet lag.

They say that going east is harder on your system because your internal body clock has to be advanced, which is more difficult for the majority of people than delaying it. However on this most recent trip, we thought that the reverse was true!

So maybe everybody is not the same. When we arrived in Bucharest, we didn't feel adversely affected at all. However now that we have arrived back in Canada, it does seem to be taking a few days to get back into sync. Even four days later, we find that we are still overly tired in the evening, and waking up too soon in the morning.

I think that it wasn't only the time change that affected us on the return trip. It was also the two nights of not very much sleep that we experienced between the overnight train ride and the delayed flight that meant staying in a hotel for a few hours the next night.

We've been on 43 different airplanes over the past four years!

And so, what do we do?

As soon as we arrive at our destination, we forget about what the time was where we had been. We immediately do things as we would normally at our current location. That  means, even if we are losing 7 hours along the way, we will stay up to our normal bedtime at the destination time...between 10pm and 11pm. That will normally mean that we will be extra tired, and should be able to sleep better without waking up too early.

And simply get right back into your normal schedule, based on the time zone of your current location.

We've found  this is the best way. Sure, sometimes your biological clock will affect your digestion, and you may find yourself needing an afternoon nap...but don't make it for too long. A half hour to an hour should suffice. The longer you nap, the harder it will be for your system to adapt to the new time zone.

They say that on average, your body will readjust at the rate of one to two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, the body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days.

Jet lag is temporary, so the prognosis is excellent and most people will recover within a few days. And, of course it affects different people differently. We are lucky that we seem to be able to carry on our daily lives without being adversely affected. And, that both Ruth and I seem to be able to do so together. 

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Need new jammies?





15 comments:

  1. We too found the biggest challenge was when we were coming BACK from Europe, as opposed to the other way. Would take me almost a week to not crash too early and then wake up too early. Other way? Sort of slept on the plane, then when in the Netherlands, would drive the two hour drive from Amsterdam to Delden, then in Vienna, take a cab home. Either way, there was a needed visit to a store for a few things that morning before crashing for at least an hour or so. Then it was pretty much back to "normal" after that first day. The ones that I'm in awe of, are those who do multi-country hopping and then go right back after a couple days. I'm guessing they never make the transition?

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    1. Yes, it will be interesting to see how we make out arriving in Spain on January 2nd...

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  2. You had a couple of stressful days before arriving in Ottawa with not much sleep. Traveling so often to the UK, it was an overnight flight there but daytime coming home so flying east was always worse.

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    1. We had one afternoon that was stressful but I do believe part of our problem not sleeping at the hotel at the airport was just because we were overtired. Thankfully it didn't take much time after that to get back into the swing of things once again.

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  3. The thirty minute afternoon nap does wonders for me. After two days I'm back to normal, typically.

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    1. Totally agree with you Peter, a quick nap does wonders! Even after we had our long flight from NYC to Johannesburg, SA and then on to Windhoek, Namibia all we did was have a small nap and then continued on with our normal day there.

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  4. We've also found the westward leg of a journey far more problematic and those side effects often take 3-4 days for us to completely rebound. (It's getting worse as we age!) Another trick to offset jet lag is to set your watch for the new time zone AS SOON AS you board the airplane. Forget what time it is where you were and focus on what time it is where you're going. It works for us. Also, short cat naps help John, but not for me so I simply keep going on the day of our arrival until the clock says it's bedtime. Happy travels!

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    1. I think that is normal for most people but luckily we are usually back into the swing of things by the next day. Yep, that is what we do, once we are in our new time zone we don't even think about what the time was at the last place. Also having a bit of a nap and getting out and having a little exercise by going for a walk really helps too.

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  5. We have found it takes us a day for every hour difference, no matter which way we're going. Which also means on a two week trip to Vietnam, we're just feeling like normal before we turn around and fly home!

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    1. That seems normal for many people but so far not for us. The two long, long trips we have had, one to Windhoek, Namibia and the other to Seoul, South Korea both starting from North America, we never found a problem with getting adjusted to the new time zone. We have also jumped right into things each time that kept us really busy so maybe that helped us, I don't know.

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  6. I think the experts are right for those that don't do much. If you exercise, and as you said make the new time zone your clock, don't eat heavy or greasy foods, you can recover much faster. Looking forward to Spain. I hope you have seen or get the chance to see the movie "Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing". A movie with Timothy Bottoms and Maggie Smith. Young and old meet on a trip through Spain. Great scenery and that is what has attracted me to Spain.

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    1. Totally agree Chris! Don't look back to what the time was where you left from, having a quick nap and getting out and getting some exercise are some of the best ways of avoiding jet lag but again, some people's bodies just don't adapt the same as others.

      Kevin tired to see if he could download that movie but it isn't a popular one so it isn't one that is easy to download. If you know where let us know, I would love to watch it.

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  7. We arrived home from Sydney, Australia last Saturday afternoon, and are just now beginning to feel human. The trip TO Sydney (and Auckland NZ) a month ago, however, didn't seem to affect us at all. Plus, I guess throwing Christmas into the mix and a shorter trip planned for two days AFTER Christmas has turned my brain into mush.

    One thing I can tell you is our flight to Australia took place at night (which is when most people do sleep). Our return flight to the states took place in the daytime, so when we got home, we'd already been up for a whole day, but it was still only early afternoon in California. I think that messed us up a bunch. Oh well, they say nobody ever died from lack of sleep! Today we were out for our usual long canal trail walk and that'll help as much as anything.

    Now, I need to spend some hours reading your last few posts!!! Welcome home!

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    1. That is definitely a long haul and no doubt that it would have an affect on the body in someway. We have done two long hauls before and both times we seemed to adjust quite well going, to be honest I can't remember how we felt coming back though, I would expect that we were fine or we would have remembered. Long walks/exercise will certainly help your system with adjusting to the time difference and maybe a little nap in the afternoon.

      Welcome back home yourself, it looked like you had a wonderful trip.

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