I had just the longest cross-continental travel of the life, covering about 18,000 kilometers with 2 stops in 2 different continents, not to mention how many different time zones. The time difference between my place of departure and my destination was exactly 12 hours. Thus, I didn’t even have to reset my analog watch. Yet, the long trip from Auckland to Zurich via Sydney and Dubai played havoc with my biological clock, not to mention those of my 7-year olds twins. You see, this completely switched our day and night rhythm. We literally travelled back in time and “gained” 12 hours in the process.
The final result is – severe jet lag. Over the years, I have searched to the perfect recipe to get rid of jet lag fast. I’ve never found it yet though there are lots of resources giving tips on how to minimize the effects of time change. Recommendations range from dietary tactics to light therapy to medications. Here are some of the tips I found useful and effective.
- Sleep as much as possible on the flight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for me. Fortunately, it does for my husband and my kids.
- Drink plenty of liquids but avoid alcohol. Water is the best for staying hydrated. Alcohol should be avoided even though people can’t resist the free booze offered on continental flights.
Here are some I have strategies I have developed myself after years of intercontinental travel experience, especially with kids:
- Set your watch according to the time of your final destination. Do this as soon as your board the plane. This will help you get use to the mindset, not to mention the time zone you’ll be going to.
- Take it easy on the first day. Do not plan activities that would necessitate strenuous physical activity or arduous mental functioning. You wouldn’t be able to perform normally. And avoid driving, if possible.
- Going back to the normal daily routine helps ease jet lag. When we were down under, it took almost 4 days for our biological clocks, most especially those of the kids, to adjust. Sleeping in and sightseeing were not part of our daily routine back home. When we got back, however, it took only 1 day for the kids to adjust, basically because they had to go back to school right on the day after arrival. They were back to their normal routine. It was the same for me, too. The only day-after effect I felt was a short episode of drowsiness after lunch and an urgent need for an early bedtime.