Friday, August 10, 2012

Avoiding Jetlag, I Did It!!

A couple of weeks ago, I was still traveling.  I flew from Israel to Newark, NJ, USA, and a few days after that I flew from there to Phoenix, AZ, and a few days later back to NJ and then back to Israel. 

The total time for the entire trip was just fifteen 15 days.  That doesn't give much time for my body to adjust to the seven, then ten and then seven again, hour time differences.

I generally suffer terribly, from all the switching.  I remember only miserable times in both directions.  I've read about special diets and cutting out coffee for days before the trip, but I didn't do that.  I was too busy before traveling to do anything special, except for packing.

My coffee drinking routine is to drink the day's worth early in the morning.  And I do drink a lot then, this very minute.  I'm too sensitive to the caffeine to drink later in the day.  But when I travel west and get tired, I use a strong cup of coffee to get me through the latter part of the day, when it's night in Israel and my body needs strong persuasion to stay up.

I've had a slightly easier time with jet lag in recent years.  One reason is that I can now fall asleep in airplanes, and the other must be that I eat a low carbohydrate diet.  It must have done something to my body besides reducing weight.

I flew nights whenever possible; that included the "red eye" from Phoenix to NJ.  The only flight I couldn't do at night was from Newark Airport to Arizona.  That made it a very long day.

My general principle was never to rest.  I immediately forced myself to function according to the time wherever I was.  If I needed a pick-me-up late afternoon, I had some strong coffee.  Many times I'd just ask for their "jet lag special" and trust that I'd be served the right kind.  There are too many choices in the coffee bars nowadays.

I went to bed at my usual 11-12pm and didn't even use an alarm clock. (If you have to be someplace at a difficult time, then use one.  I normally do at home, but I didn't on the trip.)   I slept until 6-7am each morning, similar to my regular schedule.  In no time I appeared to be functioning.

When I got home I also forced myself on a regular schedule immediately, though I did use my alarm clock so I could get to the pool on time and not sleep too late.  When I sleep too late I can't fall asleep the following night.

PS I'm not young, so don't attribute my success fighting jetlag to youth.  I also ate well.  When I couldn't get proper meals I had fruit and nuts.  I tried to keep my days "normal" to fool my body.  Thank G-d it worked.

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