Last eight years I’ve stayed in Mexico during Christmas time, because my little sister lived there. A great excuse to fly to the sun! And these trips were great, don’t get me wrong, but when I spent 12 hours in a plane, the jetlag in the following week was killing me. Especially when I went from west (Mexico) to east (The Netherlands). So that’s what I’d like to talk about today!
JETLAGS ARE HELL
The thing is, jetlags are really worse when you get from west to east. I knew it! I always knew, but science never got my back. Until now. The New York Times recently published a research that state jetlags are worse when flying from east to west. But the key question is: what to do when you’re struggling with a jetlag? I’ve got four tips for you.
Sleeping is the worst thing you can do when you’ve just arrived at your destination. Because duh, you have to get used to the new time frame you’re in. A solution when you are feeling really tired, is the powernap. But it is tricky! You know the feeling right, when you’ve just napped a bit and feel ten times worse than before sleeping. Nobody enjoys this. When your powernap is too short, you won’t feel energized. The best is a powernap somewhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours. But don’t forget to set an alarm, because chances are you’re falling asleep and will wake up when everyone else (like, the entire population) on your destination is fast asleep. And that is not what you signed up for, because you want to get along with their schedule as soon as possible.
2. DON’T MAKE SOME AMBITIOUS PLANNING
This is the most important thing to me. The other day, I went to Argentina for work to record a new television program. This meant we had to work right when we got there. After fourteen hours(!) on board of a plane, nobody can function like normal human being. So we had scheduled our arrival day as a resting day. When we got to the hotel, we didn’t feel like sleeping anymore. So I just focused on getting some rest, and scrolled through my social media feed to clear my head a bit. This way I got the energy I needed for the following work days.
3. DON’T FORCE ANYTHING
Accept to the fact that your body has to adapt. Don’t try to get along right away when your body doesn’t feel like it. Once I went to a lesson at university the day after a trip to Mexico. Luckily they just checked if I was present and I didn’t have to do anything else, because to this day I still don’t know what the lesson was about. After a long flight you can’t be super fit. Take it slow, give your body some time and embrace your jetlag. That is all you can do.
4. BE CAREFUL WITH SLEEPING PILLS
I’m not a big fan of sleeping pills, but I can imagine you just want to take one. Melatonin may be a hormone that gets you to feel sleepy, but it works better when it is dark outside (your body will create more). If you take a sleeping pill during the day, there is a possibility you will feel really bad the day after. Besides, a sleeping pill won’t help to get rid of your jetlag. Chris’ tip: take sleeping pills when you really, really need them (like after your jetlag, when you have trouble sleeping at night).
Have you experienced some pretty bad jetlags? Let me know what your tips are!