Thursday, February 14, 2013

Combatting Jet Lag

Flying from the US to Europe often means an overnight flight, and this trip is no different.  We'll be departing late afternoon and arriving mid-morning the following day.  With a six hour time difference and the lack of good rest on the flight over, we will arrive ready for a shower and a nap.

We have reservations through the cruise line for a hotel in Barcelona and if we have any luck, at least one of the two rooms we require will be ready for us to check in upon arrival.  If that happens, we'll all be glad to get cleaned up and have a short rest before heading out to find some lunch and explore the city.

We know that dealing with jet lag immediately is important, so to prepare, we are reading up on strategies for coping.  There's an article at WebMD titled Coping with Jet Lag with tips to help us get adjusted to the new time zone so that by the time we board the ship two days later, we'll not be nodding off in our soup at dinner, unlike our fellow passengers who arrived in Spain that morning.

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What we have found that doesn't work for us:
  • Not taking the time to rest at least 90 minutes after arrival.  It's important to lie down and stretch out our bodies after being cramped on an airplane for 9 hours.
  • Trying to see and do a lot that first afternoon.  We won't remember most of what we see or do anyway, so save the important things for another day.
  • Planning to stay up later to adjust to the later bed time. 
  • Not having somewhat of a plan for a meal that first afternoon.  This is not the time to try to figure out where to go or what to do; they need food and they need it now!

What we have found that does work for us:
  • Packing a change of clothes in our carry-on bag so we can take a quick shower without having to dig through the suitcases.
  • Setting an alarm for no more than 90 minutes after the last person gets out of the shower.
  • Having a plan for something to do for the afternoon that takes some energy but not a lot of concentration.  For example, walking to a market or outdoor venue, but not taking a bus (which could lull us to sleep).
  • Getting to bed earlier than our regular bedtime according to the clock, but setting the alarm for the next morning to wake at our regular morning time.
  • Being patient with each other for the rest of the next day and building in an afternoon rest.
Each overseas trip we take, we get better as a family in getting through the jet lag so that we can enjoy the places we're in.  We are hopeful that the lessons we have learned will help us zip right through the jet lag. 

If you have any tried and true tips for dealing with jet lag, please share them in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Remember to stay hydrated on the plane as much as possible, and avoid alcohol. I have never tried the 90 minute rest, I will have to try that next time I do a lonnnnnnngggg flight!