Monday, January 26, 2015

To jet lag or not to jet lag

Here on the title, I am assuming jet lag is a "verb," which in my case feels more like being possessed of mind and body by a "life that does not originate from Earth," i.e: Alien!

A few days ago I typed on google "beating jet lag" and read all the articles that appear on the first page of results, 10 to be exact.  Feeling like a zombie possessed by an alien and a bit frustrated, I wanted something that helped me get out of the jet lag curse right there and then.

Guess what? Nada, zilch, zero! Unless you want to learn what jet lag is, what causes it and all the effects it has on your body. If that is your case, these were the best ones I read, here and here.
Disruption of your circadian rhythms anyone?? Sounds like you missed a bunch of dancing lessons instead of many hours of sleep.

Somewhere in Canada
Some recommendations that did NOT work for me:

  • Adjust your schedule before leaving - No way! Who has time to start pretending 2 days before leaving?
  • Take Melatonin - Nope! Both of the side effects occurred to me, nausea and headaches, plus I felt the "zombiness" effect was enhanced by this pill.
  • Try to sleep on the plane - Seriously? Have you flown economy lately? With kids? I can't even breathe back there, much less sleep.  But when I win the lottery and start flying first class I promise I will sleep while the kids are being taken care off by the nanny!
  • Try not to sleep after arrival- I'm laughing here! I don't sleep on the plane, if I'm traveling with the kids then not even a tiny bit. They seriously expect me not to dose off after arriving at 7am? This is the one thing I've never been able to do.

Somewhere in Colombia
 Some things that DO work, during the flight: (even if they just make the flight more comfortable):

  • Staying hydrated - this is the number one thing in my opinion, even if you end up going to that tiny toilet 20 times, just do it! Just don't drink any alcohol otherwise you'll be more than hammered when you reach your destination.
  • Moving around - I get up at least 2 times (on an 8 hour flight) and stretch, plus all the times I go to the toilet. Don't even bother with the funny looks, just bend down and reach up.
  • Carrying my own food - easier said than done, but the times I've managed to do this, my body has felt so much better
  • Carrying a "comfort bag" - Mine has: sweat pants, a scarf, neck pillow, eye mask, tooth brush, tooth paste and my favorite tea. Without these, those 8 hours would be endless, believe me, I know!
  • Don't watch too many movies or any screen for that matter - Out of boredom I've watched 4 movies in a row when I've traveled with no kids and the time allowed it. When I tell you a massive headache was had, think about it in the worst possible way.

Boats reaching the Panama Canal
Things that have helped when the destination is reached:

  • Relaxing yoga poses, especially legs up the wall pose
  • Drinking lots of water, and also teas like this one or this other one.
  • Eating light nourishing meals, after all that salt and crap carbohydrates from the flight, this is the least you can do.
  • Taking short walks, and if there is sun… well, enjoy it!
  • Be patient! OK, I'm laughing again, sorry!
  • Count the time zones you've flown and that is how many days your body will take to go back to "normal" -usually. No promises here!

Miami Beach
I've flown back and forth between Europe and the US countless of times. My mother lives in Florida, and I moved to Europe 15 years ago. It hasn't gotten any easier. Apparently the older you get, the harder jet lag gets (so there you go). It is also much harder coming back to Europe, according to one of those articles I read;  "flying west is best, flying east is beast."

Is there one solution to the jet lag problem? The only one that comes to mind is not traveling, and it is the only one I'm not willing to commit to. I actually love traveling, and come to think of it, jet lag is a small price to pay when you get to see, enjoy, breathe, this beautiful world we live in, so just suck it up!

Disclaimer: This post was actually written under the influence of such a jet lag

Happy travels and may you always find beauty in the little things,


  1. Oh, I really feel you. Jet lag is so hard with kids! It was harder for me going to the Philippines (7 hours difference) because I just wanted to sleep all day and ended up being awake all night.
    Coming back to Europe for the first week or two I am always in bed at 8 or 9pm and wake up the next day at 6am, which I actually really like. I feel a bit sad when my body finally adjusts and I am back to sleeping at 11pm or even midnight.

    1. Yes, that is why they say flying east is beast :) Going to my mom's is great, coming back is not! But somehow our bodies do end up adapting, eventually and we can't wait to plan our next trip, haha!!

  2. Pues luego de esos recorridos, el alma llega "plena"... aunque el espiritu, llegue mucho mas tarde en otro vuelo. Vuelo de pajaro? Tren? Barco tal vez?...............

    1. Si, cuando al fin llega el alma es un buen encuentro!

  3. My most successful way to beat jet-lag is to just be IN THE TIME where I happen to be!
    Going cross country, there are just a few hours here and there...and not too tough to just look at the clock and be in that moment. Overseas is a bit different, but staying up the entire day of arrival and going to bed at a regular time seems to work fairly well. Still, it does matter how long you are gone...sigh.............smiling helps...and not pushing it....don't you think?

    1. Smiling and not pushing it are really great antidotes. But with an energetic little one is not always that simple :) When I travel by myself somehow it all seems lighter, haha!


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