Extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across different time zones.
At this point I’ve flown a lot. A lot compared to some people and nothing compared to other. I’ve been to Japan (twice), China, South Korea, USA (twice) and some EU countries.
Jet lag is something I take very serious. The last time I went to Japan it hit me, hard. Going east is the worst jet lag possible. Not only you’re wasting more hours than flying west but usually (for me) means being away from home.
When I fly west (coming home to Barcelona) I arrive at my bed and with the fridge full of food I’m familiar with. When flying to Asia not only I’m disoriented by the culture, language and place, but the food is completely different. Oh yeah, and who knows where I’ll be staying that night.
What’s your trick?
I actually haven’t found a true solution (I don’t think there is one). What I’ve discovered though on my last trip to South Korea is small actions to fight back the jet lag.
1. If you arrive in the morning, sleep less
My flight was supposed to land at 7:00AM local time. I had to woke up at 4:00AM my time to get to the airport, so that night I tried to sleep just 2 or 3 hours. When I got to the plane and my phone, set to South Korean timezone, said it was night I slept. I couldn’t sleep the whole time (man, I wish), but I managed to do some long naps that helped me arrive somewhat fresh to Seoul.
2. Drink, drink and pee
During the flight, drink (a lot). Ask for orange juice or water and keep yourself hydrated. I don’t know why but it sure helps.
3. Eat light
Once you get there eat light. No fried food, meat or things that would take extra effort to digest. Try vegetables, fruit and vitamin drinks. If you don’t have much appetite due the jet lag (like me), drink energy drinks. Not only will keep you hydrated but will give you an extra kick (sugar, minerals…).
4. Try to sleep on time
Yeah, seems pretty obvious right? Once you land try to force your body to the new timezone. Don’t sleep if you’re tired, try to wait until it’s night time. You can exercise (lightly) to wake up a little. Make use of the daylight, trick the body, expose it to sunlight so it thinks it’s not time to sleep.
In the end each person is different. Some tips will work and other won’t. You have to find your own jet lag cure. In general just relax, try to pass the time and make the best of it.