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Thread: How To Handle Jet Lag?

  1. #1
    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    How To Handle Jet Lag?

    Hey guys, Happy New Year!

    I've talked to a few different people about this problem but none of the advice I've gotten really works so far, so figured I'd turn to my trusty relationship forum (haha).

    I travel pretty frequently for work as a musician in Europe, but generally I am able to keep it to a few hours max on the train or under an hour flying time, and I rarely change time zones. I have a billon tricks for keeping healthy on the planes (I pretty much pound water and wrap myself from head to toe like a crazy person. But it works.)

    The problems arise when I have international flights, approximately 3-4 times a year. My family's in NY, and my boyfriend recently traveled with me to meet them for a couple weeks over the summer, and then last week for Christmas and the New Year. I'm always astounded by his ability to pretty much take a nap and be fine after the first day when we land - I, on the other hand, struggle no matter what I do.

    I'm still recovering from a three-month long bout of Mono in the Spring, which really showed up after I traveled to the States in May. I'm a lot healthier and have felt pretty much back to normal. Anything my body perceives as Sleep Deprivation makes it freak out. When I arrive in the States, the first two days I will wake up at 5 AM (which would be 11AM in my normal time in Europe), unable to continue sleeping and generally feeling energised for the day. By Midday I'll get an energy crash and feel kind of foggy for hours until 7 or 8 PM (1 or 2AM Europe), when I can hardly string sentences together and can NEVER stay awake. As a general rule I try to keep myself up until about 9:30PM so I'll sleep a little later and adjust, but even if I do adjust, I don't feel "normal" until a few days in.

    Returning is way worse, though. Last night, one day 1/2 after arriving back in the Eu, I fell asleep at 6:30PM, then woke up at about 7:30 for dinner with my friends, then back to sleep around 9. Someone texted me around 11 PM, and it woke me up instantly and then I tossed and turned until 1:30 AM, feeling like it was the middle of the day. I woke up this morning around 8, oversleeping my alarm by about half an hour and feeling like a truck hit me - I felt like I was catching my umpteenth cold.

    I tried taking melatonin the night before, and while it worked at getting me to sleep, it caused some epic nightmares and since the Netherlands are pretty dark nowadays (low sunlight during winter), it causes me to be kind of moody the next day, so I would like to avoid taking it.

    Any tips out there for how to combat this? I want to be able to dive back in on both ends of these trips and it is insanely hard for me. Thanks in advance!

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    I was told by a trans-Atlantic pilot that jet lag is primarily caused by dehydration.

    Now, I hate drinking water on a long flight because then I'll have to use the icky tiny airplane bathroom. ..but it's really the best solution.

    Oops, just saw that you drink lots of water. Never mind!

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    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    Hahaha No worries Boltnrun, staying hydrated IS number 1 for travel I believe, so that's still a good reminder! I go to hydration as the first cure to almost anything these days.

    I have been pretty much drinking water nonstop since first starting the travels before Christmas, and limiting caffeine and alcohol, but I'll up that in the next few days even more. It feels more like a circadian rhythm issue right now.

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    Hey sweetie - It may sound cliche, but you have to listen to your body. I think you may be putting too many expectations on yourself. I do know exactly how you feel - when I travelled back and forth between the US and Spain, I would have crazy insomnia for weeks on both ends, in addition to other weird health things that seemed to make no sense.

    What I've learned -- your body gives you clues both before and after trips, anxious, calm whatever. I found it helpful to give myself time to listen to those and follow that feeling. Envision what would feel comfortable for you both before and after (and what doesn't) -- a feeling picture if that makes sense. Imagine the feeling of a good pre and post-flight experience and then create it. e.g. Plane lands at 8pm? Tell people you aren't available to talk until 12pm the next day -- even if they are in the same house with you. Traveling across multiple time zones? Go one day in advance (you can pay for a hotel yourself if the company won't.) Make a cushion on either end of a long journey - a soft transition and landing. Whatever is the hardest part for you, feel and imagine what would make it better... and then figure out a way to do it. The feeling part is important - that's where the gold is.

    The other thing that has been helpful for me is meditation. There's an app for smart phones called "Insight" (free) with all sorts of guided meditations you can download in advance, all different categories. It may help you relax through the flight and help you to sleep and/or wake up. All the meditations are free without ads (and no, I have nothing to do with the business, I just use it.)

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  6. #5
    Silver Member Pretzel's Avatar
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    When i have jetlag and need to sleep / can't sleep at the right times in my destination country- I believe Melatonin is the answer and a Godsend for this!! In the UK its harder to get hold of but in USA you dont need a prescription for it and can pick it up at any pharmacy and big supermarkets

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    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    Were you taking just straight melatonin or was it mixed in with another sleep aid? Very well could have been placebo, but melatonin doesn't help you go to sleep, but rather helps you stay asleep. If you were getting nightmares, it's very possible your dosage was too high. It's suggested that it increases REM sleep activity, so you dream more, which brings more of a chance for nightmares and uncomfortably vivid dreams.

    I used to travel between Spain and the US a lot. I'm personally kinda convinced that traveling several thousand miles within a day is simply something we might have never been meant to do. But that's getting edgy. Point being I was never able to avoid the initial blitz. If you watch soccer over there, you'll see that every time there's an international break, all these players from South America come back to Europe and play like trash. Talkin' millionaires with the highest quality nutritionists and physicians and even they can't avoid it, even after like a week.

    But some things that help me for international travel:

    - Have been definitely no ringtone during first few sleeps. I'm kinda averse to it because I want to be available in emergencies, but let's be real... I wasn't gonna be in a state to help anyone.
    - Curtains closed. Like... super closed. If this is a regular deal for you, it'd be worth investing in some good black outs to keep on both sides of the pond, even if you're sticking them in someone's closet and putting them up yourself and taking them down whenever you visit.
    - Melatonin should help-- maybe try lowering your dosage.
    - Don't drink alcohol the first few days. Can lead to the opposite effect of too much melatonin. Instead of too much REM, you get little/no REM.
    - Sleep less leading into the flight. Not a huge deprivation or anything. But for me, I average 5 - 6 hours for good sleep. I might sleep 3 - 4 before heading to the airport. Depending on the airline and whether I could splurge on more legroom or first class (not saying either are economically viable for everyone), I can catch some z's on the flight and it helps transition quicker on the other side.
    - White noise machine / fan / rainymood.com... really anything to keep the sound monotonous so that you're not picking up sounds outside or inside that might be associated with day.

    Years back, I was in a financial rut and needed to work 90+ hours a week between two jobs, one overnight and one that was a day shift. Had to get real inventive on earning sleep. I'll try to think of other things.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    I did tons of transatlantic and cross country US travelling/commuting. Echo what j.man suggests. Definitely hydrate hydrate hydrate. Eat light before sleeping. For me a hot shower as soon as getting off the plane to get some steam, relax and undo the creepy plane air, sitting for hours etc. No alcohol, sleep aids, etc. they just complicate things your body needs time to correct no matter what.

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    I just wait it out.

    I force myself to stay awake on the arrival country schedule, even after a 24 hour flight - I can never sleep during flights It seems to work best, but can take a few days before the body regulates.

    It sucks, but you can only be patient.

  10. #9

    never go out before your nightflight!

    Yeaaaah, once I also had reallyreallyreally tough flight.. it was totally my fault) I've been hanging out in St.Petersburg with my friends, we were clubbing, and the last thing I remember is how my friends were pulling me out of the strip bar Zavist (smith like that) and the next moment I am already in the plane and lovely stewardess asks me what i want coffee or tea)) Gosh, it was the hardest night flight in my life and the hardest morning ever!


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