Overcoming jet lag

Some say it’s the curse of the modern age. Others avoid visiting friends and family so as not to experience it.

Jetting abroad
Jetting abroad

Jet lag describes the condition where your circadian rhythms are interrupted when travelling in an aircraft across time zones. Symptoms of jet lag include difficulty sleeping at a normal time, waking up in the middle of the night, and extreme drowsiness. In my years of travel, I’ve been very lucky in avoiding the severe effects of jet lag by following three simple rules.

Rule one: always adjust your watch to the destination time zone. As soon as I get on the plane, I adjust my watch to the time zone of my destination city. This means if I’m going from Sydney to Los Angeles for instance, I’ll turn my watch back seventeen hours. Likewise if I’m going to London where I’ll turn it back nine hours. By adjusting my watch to the destination time zone I start acting as if I’m the destination time zone.

Rule two: don’t eat and drink too much. When you’re onboard the plane and the attractive hostess keeps offering you food, I know it’s difficult resist the extra chocolate ice cream and cheese platter. Equally, when that glass of wine seems to have a never ending bottom, and you’ve left the cares of the world 35,000 feet below, saying “no” to the cognac or some other digestif requires real willpower. Believe me; on the occasions where I’ve over indulged, I’ve regretted it; on the occasions where I’ve been disciplined, I’ve sufferred little jet lag.

Rule three: sleep according to the destination time zone. I know this is a follow-on to my first rule and it works. If you can sleep as close as possible to normal nighttime according to the destination time zone, you’ll land fresh and full of energy. For those who find it difficult to sleep, I’ve always found some Baileys with a mild antihistamine works a treat.

So there you have it: my three simple rules for overcoming the jet lag curse. Try them next time you fly to visit friends and family and let me know if they work for you too!