Anytime you zip across time zones there’s an impact on your body and energy. At the least, you may not sleep well the next night; at the worst the discomfort goes on for days, perhaps with headaches and almost always an odd sense on a cellular level. Your cells scream, where am I? Since the dawn of air travel the trauma has been impacting travelers. Is it possible to banish jet lag?
There’s no silver bullet but there is a program that has been used by President Reagan, by Ambassadors, Fortune 500 executives and other savvy travelers. I didn’t quite believe it but tested the program. What follows is part of my process but please note, you need to know exactly how many time zones you’re traversing and adjust for direction, East or West. (North or South flights may be very long but don’t impact the body in the same way.)
Dr. Charles Ehret…”has testimony from thousands of military and industrial executives who have used it (the jet lag diet.)” The Washington Post
The little booklet that became my bible before, during and after the long trip was first published in 1983! It was updated this century as the Cure for Jet Lag.
No Jet Lag from the flight between Los Angeles and London
Crossing 9 time zones was going to flip my day to night. I needed to be clear headed from the moment I landed with business in Heathrow airport, another flight to Geneva and meetings at the hotel – all before bedtime. Sleep wouldn’t have been enough. I’ve tried using sleep aids or slept long on trans-Pacific flights and still felt the disorientation from jet lag. I knew I needed more.
The ‘Cure for Jet Lag‘ program began 3 days before departure, depending mainly on light and dark phases, food and social cues. The hardest part for me was adjusting caffeine intake. I’m a big morning coffee drinker and had to delay the first cup until the afternoon, specifically limited to between 3 and 4:30 pm! The rest depended on diet. Carb-loading was for night time meals – it helps with sleep. Proteins were primarily for daytime meals. The days before and during the flight were split between feast (eat as much as you wish) and fasting (limiting calories.) It wasn’t difficult.
I slept some on the flight over. (Air New Zealand, thank you for the comfort.) On board I set my clock for landing time and ate on my destination schedule. After landing, I stayed active and slept well (except for the excitement buzz of finally being in Switzerland!)
Banishing Jet Lag on the Return Flight
More experienced trans-Atlantic fliers have told me that the worst jet lag symptoms happen after returning home. The biggest reason is that it’s a East-West flight, moving against the motion of the planet. I followed the program to the letter. There were several different adjustments different from flying West-East, but having an inkling of what they might entail, it wasn’t a problem. It was important to me to arrive again, ready to step into Pacific Daylight Time.
On the flight I was warned to not even nap! Luckily my airplane had in seat entertainment and I proceeded to watch an entire season of a favorite TV program (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, if you must know!) The biggest mistake was in my planning. I landed in Los Angeles at 7:55 pm already tired. After clearing customs, finding my car and having to drive over 2 hours from LAX to San Diego I had to nap mid-drive and returned home to fall into my own bed. The following day started simply enough but I had a conference to attend and needed to be alert. Surprisingly, I was!
At no time did I encounter that disorienting fatigue that can come with jet lag. The program works. There’s a reason it’s been part of a best-selling book and thousands have used it for more than 30 years.
Second best way to banish Jet Lag
Homeopathic ‘No Jet Lag‘ pills help but I’ve found that the directed regimen is difficult to maintain and without following it to the hour, it never completely worked for me. It’s important to find what works for your body and comfort zones.
New technology to banish Jet Lag
There is a promising new product in development to avoid jet lag. The UK Guardian reported in February, 2016 that pulses of light, from programmed goggles, erase the effects of zipping across time zones. The goggles emit light flashes, sending signals to the body and helping it make adjustments to the new time zone. I’d love to test them! How simple would that be? But in the meantime, and jet lag can be a mean time, I’ll trust the Cure for Jet Lag that is working for me.
Ease long haul flight stress and aching muscles with Fly Time Yoga
As getting up and moving is an important part of any jet lag program and can help you avoid dangerous Deep Vein Thrombosis, I invite you to take a look at my booklet, Fly Time Yoga. The small stretches can be done in your seat, in the aisle on board the flight and include techniques to help you at your destination. There are stress-busting breathing techniques as well. I developed these while working as a certified Yoga teacher and enlisted the help of Julie Garner, Ergonomic Consultant and Physical Therapist. It definitely helps me arrive feeling better and avoid back, neck and hip aches from sitting long.
What do you use to help banish jet lag? Please comment! I’m always on the look out for new clues.
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