I recently flew from Virginia Beach to spend three weeks in Asia, where I taught a three-day event, and toured four countries. To be honest, I had so prepared for the teaching gig that I was not overwhelmed with Jet Lag when I first arrived. It was after the bear of a trip coming home – 33-hours – that it hit me. I have never experienced such Jet Lag!
Lee Milteer jetting to a 3-week tour of Asia.
In the spirit of Einstein’s quote, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” I have done some helpful research on Jet Lag to share with you world travelers.
The Facts about Jet Lag
Medical researchers have written that our human system becomes inefficient and disoriented due to long distances traveled in a pressurized plane, combined with the many time changes that the body has to endure.
On average, it requires approximately one day to recover from each one hour of time change. This means that, if you flew from Virginia to France (a time change of six hours), you would require approximately six days before your mind and body functioned efficiently in the new Time Zone. Keep in mind you literally can have Jet Lag anytime you fly and change Time Zones. You need to be aware of that stress on your body.
So here are Some Systems that Help with Jet Lag:
1. Hydration: Your body loses a minimum of one pint of water per hour of flying. This means that you should drink at least one pint or more per hour for every hour that you are in the air. Avoid alcohol and drinks containing sugar. I only drank water on the plane to Asia, and ate very lightly. Sadly, coming home I was so tired I totally forgot all the “Rules” to Jet Lag and did not behave as well, which was part of my serious Jet Lag problem.
2. Get on Your New Time as Quickly as Possible: When you fly from West to East, your first goal is to get acclimated to the new Time Zone as quickly as possible. To achieve this goal, you must resist the natural tendency to go to sleep as soon as you depart the airport.
What I do is set my watch to the Time Zone I am flying to, and go to sleep when my watch tells me it’s my bedtime. Also, if I arrive at my destination in the daytime, I get into the sun as soon as possible and do not go to bed – no matter how tired I am – till it is dark in the new Time Zone. If I wake up in the middle of this new night, I simply take a small bit of Melatonin and force myself to stay in bed and sleep. If I’m to arrive to Asia or Europe in the morning, I will try to take a nap before the plane lands so I have some energy for the day.
3. Hot Water Baths: This is the most important part of all. Whether you eat a lot or a little, drink a lot or a little, take a lot of vitamins or no vitamins, Melatonin or no Melatonin, the most powerful single factor in overcoming Jet Lag is taking a Hot Water Bath.
Especially when traveling from West to East, it is absolutely essential that you take a hot bath the afternoon or evening of your arrival. I always ask for a room with a bath tub. Stay in the hot water for five minutes for every one hour change.
If you arrive in the morning or middle of the day, check into your hotel and take your hot bath in the afternoon. Important to remember: after your hot bath, take the same amount of time to cool down after your bath. I have personally found if I take the bath in the late afternoon, I can take a one-hour nap and all my body will relax and I will wake up refreshed and feel OK.
After I have taken a nap, I normally have some coffee or Espresso and then act as if I am on the new Time Zone. Go to bed when the clock says it’s your normal bedtime and then wake up the next day on the new Time Zone.
So all of the above worked like a charm going to Asia. Coming home I did not have the same good luck. So I reached out to Pilots who fly around the world and deal with this reality called Jet Lag. Be sure to check out next week’s Gems of Wisdom because I’ll share their invaluable advice with you and some Brand New Tricks I have learned that sincerely helped me recover from my trip back from Asia!