I was on a 32 hour travel journey from Melbourne back to Ottawa. The normal travel hiccups happened along the way (delayed flights, thunder storms, running between gates, etc) that make you less sad to leave paradise, and really ready to sleep in your own bed again. It’s a cosmic conspiracy that way :-)….. but, I was surprised by the jet lag that greeted me when I got home.
Jet lag. Have you had it? This was my first real experience. Yeah, I travel a fair bit, but it hasn’t been an issue for me previously (at least nothing that a 2 hour nap didn’t cure). But, I guess having a trip to Hawaii that lost 6 hours going east, coming home to Ottawa quickly, and then going on a trip to Australia that gained 14 hours going west has a way of catching up with you.
The off-kilter body clock hit me this week. And made me wonder more about causes, remedies, and prevention.
The Mayo Clinic defines jet lad this way (see http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/jet-lag/basics/definition/CON-20032662 ):
Jet lag, also called jet lag disorder, is a temporary sleep problem that can affect anyone who quickly travels across multiple time zones.
Your body has its own internal clock, or circadian rhythms, that signals your body when to stay awake and when to sleep. Jet lag occurs because your body’s clock is still synced to your original time zone, instead of to the time zone where you’ve traveled. The more time zones crossed, the more likely you are to experience jet lag.
Jet lag can cause daytime fatigue, an unwell feeling, difficulty staying alert and gastrointestinal problems. Jet lag is temporary, but it can significantly reduce your vacation or business travel comfort. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent or minimize jet lag.
Of course, what made my jet lag pretty well non-existent going to Australia (even after coming from Hawaii) was the wonderful business-class seats I had on Air New Zealand. I ate some dinner, had a glass of wine, watched a movie, and then slept 8 hours on a lie flat bed with memory foam. I awoke refreshed, and ready to go. I’d certainly recommend that mode of travel to anyone going to New Zealand or Australia. Yes, it is pricey, but it is definitely worth every penny.
I had the same wonderful business class on the way home. And, I’m sure the extreme comfort of the mode of travel certainly lessened the impact of any jet lag I did feel. Yet, I did feel slightly like I’d been smacked upside the head on my return. 🙂 I’m sure it was a cumulative effect of two and a half weeks of being on the road, changing time zones, changing hotels every couple of days. By the time I got back to my own bed, I didn’t know what time zone I was in, and I was wide awake in the middle of the night. It took a couple of days to re-adjust. I was very lucky to only feel some effects after I was home. I realized that had I felt this effects at the start of my vacation, I would’ve seriously impacted my vacation – which is not something I’d ever want to do.
So, I decided to do some research on jet lag, and seek some advice from others to ensure I avoid for the next trip to Australia. (Oh yes, I will be returning!)
Here are a couple of things I’d found, that might help you in your upcoming travels.
See “6 things to avoid jet lag” – https://ca.news.yahoo.com/6-things-avoid-jet-lag-200820581.html – this article suggested you catch the red eye, avoid sleep aids, pass on the alcohol and caffeine, plan ahead, and consider melatonin therapy.(I did all but the latter – well, save the glass of champagne.)
I also looked to my Virtuoso colleagues for their suggestions. See their “Five Tips for Preventing Jet Lag” – https://www.virtuoso.com/articles/Virtuoso-Traveler-June-2016/ask-the-advisors-preventing-jet-lag#.WOpJjNIrLDc – set your clock to destination, sleep on the flight, arrange an overnight layover to break up travel, get a massage when you arrive, and stay active and seek out sunshine when you’re there.
And I also reread an article from my clients, the Pellerins, recently shared with me that had appeared in the Washington Post. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/jet-lag-is-tougher-when-traveling-east-but-precautions-can-ease-its-effects/2012/12/24/e75305f8-3a67-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story.html?utm_term=.b83d44e60aa2 . This article talked about the harder impact of going east rather than west on the body, but also gave some tips about how to tame jet lag.
What do you do to prevent and/or tame jet lag? What do you do when you get it, and want to fix it? Please share your tips with me. I’d love to hear of your personal experiences – maybe can report a tip list back in next week’s newsletter.
So – for this week, let’s look at really long flights from Ottawa/ Toronto/ Vancouver etc in terms of how you can prepare for your next potential jet lag bout. Now that we know a bit more about causes, prevention, and remedies, let’s go travel the world!
Here are some of the world’s 20 longest non-stop flights to consider http://www.hopper.com/articles/1049/the-worlds-20-longest-non-stop-flights
Contact me if you’d like to schedule a complimentary consultation about your travel.