I'm asking this, because I'm desperate, but how do you get over jet lag?
I have had jet lag before, but I was in my teens and early twenties, and was on holiday. This time, I can not get back on schedule. I was in a time zone 4 hours behind, for 10 weeks, and I've been back in the US for 2 weeks. I don't have to return to the office until Monday, on time, but I have been under pressure with a report deadline, catching up with the family, etc, and a weekend of Christmas parties last weekend. No matter what I do, can't get to sleep before 3:00 am, or else I force sleep, and wake up at 5:00 am. I finally get back to sleep at around 7:00 am, but I'm too tired to get out of bed, until after 10:00, but that, again, keeps me on the 3:00 am bedtime schedule, with only 4-5 hours sleep.
Do people approaching age 60 need less sleep? I doubt it, because I have to fight to stay awake and alert during the day, and now I don't feel safe driving!
This is the first time I've ever gone OT, and really do wonder how the old geezer Mormon GA's adapt? Or, does the rest of the world adapt to THEM and their schedule. Many of you on RFM are experienced world travelers--and I would love to know how you handle time-changes.
I went to the doctor when my circadian sleep cycle was interrupted from changing time zones and being jet lagged by 14 hours difference coming home from an overseas flight.
It lasted me several weeks. My doc gave me a sleeping tablet to help my circadian rhythm readjust to whatever normal is.
I couldn't sleep for days or weeks on end on a regular cycle until I went to the doctor. Never been so jet lagged before. I don't know how airline stewards and pilots adapt although I've heard they age very fast because of the time zone changes they endure - it speeds up their adrenaline similar to working in law enforcement does to police officers.
I used to travel internationally 3-4 times a month, and jet lag was a constant nuisance.
There are several preventative measures you can take, but since it's too late for those, I only have one suggestion:
You can get some at most health-food/supplement stores. Even some grocery stores.
Take a dose about an hour before what would be your normal bed time. In that hour, don't watch TV, use your phone, or use a computer (ditch all the blue light). Reading a book is a good way to pass the hour. If you start feeling drowsy, put the book down and let yourself sleep. If after an hour you're still awake, get into bed anyway, take the book with you, and read until you fall asleep.
It might take a few days to reset yourself. But after trying lots of things, the melatonin one hour before bedtime routine worked for me every time. Usually in 1-2 nights.
I'm in the same boat actually. I've had permanent jet lag for about 18 months now. I think it must be age-related.
But there is a particular time zone that I visit off and on that works perfectly. When I go there, I'm ready to fall into a deep sleep at 10pm and then up and well-rested at 6am...and it works every day.
Back in my home time zone, it's always a struggle. I'm always sleepy when I should be alert and suddenly wide awake when I should be sleeping.
I generally spend a few months a year abroad, and the jet lag is horrible. A trip of two or three days is easier because you never really adjust to the new time zone and coming home is better. The worst is about a week, since you go through the pain of getting used to the new zone and then go home and go through it all again. At a certain point, if you travel constantly you learn to live without a circadian rhythm.
To help, frankly you may need drugs. I have a stash of sleeping meds that I use for four or five days when arriving in a new place and then again upon my return. I don't know how you can avoid that if you need to hit the road running professionally. You can also use Nuvigil or Provigil to help stay awake during the day.
Other things that help are melatonin, as Hie says, although I use that in conjunction with sleeping tablets. It ALWAYS helps to spend lots of time out in the sunshine when you are feeling jetlag; the light gets your daytime hormones flowing. Exercise is good, too. I always try to exercise from the first day of arrival in a new place.
But frankly, international travel is torture. I always expect to spend five or so days in real discomfort.
My experience is that the best thing you can do for jet lag (if you are able to do this) is to sleep it off. When I got back from South Africa, and I was home, I went right to bed and slept for about eighteen hours straight. I woke up in the afternoon the next day, and at that point, I was nearly in sync with the Pacific Time Zone.
One caution about melatonin (in general, not just with jet lag): It worked well for me for awhile, so I began taking one melatonin every night before I went to bed, as a regular thing, and then discovered I was half-asleep until after noon the next day (even if, technically, I was "awake" and "functioning"--because I really wasn't, on either level).
When I stopped the melatonin, it took a few days to get fully back on track, but NOT taking it regularly did stop all of those daylight hours the next day where I was "pretending" to be awake, but wasn't really (and I KNEW it!).
Jet lag is one thing, but from my own personal experience, I do not recommend using melatonin as a regular part of going to sleep every night.
Tevai Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > One caution about melatonin (in general, not just > with jet lag): It worked well for me for awhile, > so I began taking one melatonin every night before > I went to bed, as a regular thing, and then > discovered I was half-asleep until after noon the > next day (even if, technically, I was "awake" and > "functioning"--because I really wasn't, on either > level). > > When I stopped the melatonin, it took a few days > to get fully back on track, but NOT taking it > regularly did stop all of those daylight hours the > next day where I was "pretending" to be awake, but > wasn't really (and I KNEW it!).
Good info that I probably should have put in my post. I use the stuff to "kick-start" me back into the new time zone. Not on a daily basis. If you're reasonably normal, your body makes plenty of the stuff during your normal rhythm. If you add a daily supplement, you can get what happened above. Too much of a good thing :)
My close relative was an "important" GA, who traveled all over the world. His wife was afraid of flying! They requested to have had mostly local trips assigned to them, but he ended up flying all over the world, while she stayed home. She claims all that travel, plus church stress, shortened his life.
Here is everything I know about jet-lag--well--you asked!
My son and his wife (who are much younger than the OP) travel extensively, for vacation trips. He says that you have to "suck it up" when you reach a destination, and not go to bed until destination-bedtime that night, even if you have been awake all night. They get exercise walking around on tour, and they lots of water. My older friends who travel say they do the same thing. Their tour guide was almost 80 years old, and he kept all the older folks walking around the city all day, until they crashed into bed that night, too tired to eat. They claim that this works, and it's only the first day that's less fun, and they are fine for the rest of the trip. It's worth a try, if you are in a hurry.
Exercise during the day, but no vigorous activities after dinnertime.
Don't begin any projects, and stop working, and screens off 2 hours before bedtime.
Do yoga stretches, yoga breathing.
Dim the lights, do aromatherapy.
One of my problems, is that I had just gotten divorced, and his former side of the bed became piled with books and papers. You need to have a sleep-friendly bed and bedroom.
Don't sleep with pets.
Avoid Ambien and Zolpidem. Half the Mormon women I know are hooked on it, though it's not supposed to be addictive--yeah, right.
My stewardess friend says stewardesses rely on Melatonin.
I tried Valerian a few times, and it relaxed me right before bed, but the effect wore off during the night. Chamomile and lavender tea help. Some people say to eat calcium, milk or cheese or yogurt, at night
The obvious, is to avoid caffeine and chocolate--don't eat these at all, for several weeks! These send me through the roof.
Alcohol can make some people drowsy for a while, but it can interrupt natural sleep, doctors say.
OP, you need to de-stress! Take the weekend off, if you can. Pass, on the Christmas parties, if you need to. Chill!
When I get jet-lag, I can make my own work schedule, and I concentrate on getting up in the morning, rather than putting on pressure to go to force sleep at night. I began with 6 hours sleep, the minimum to maintain health and immunity, and set my alarm for that. (Set your alarm for 9:00 am, if you go to sleep at 3:00 am). Keep it that way, no matter how bad your sleep is, for 4 days, or however long it takes to stabilize, then set the alarm 15-30 minutes earlier for 4 days, and so on. Follow Hie's instructions at night, and relax, and let your natural sleepiness take over, undisturbed by drugs or caffeine.
A light therapy box is supposed to help reset your circadian rhythm. I use one in the winter, because it makes me more alert and cheerful all day. Use it only first thing in the morning.
Naps are controversial. Everyone is different. Some say that a 20-minute "power nap" is fine, but if I take any kind of nap, I can get to sleep that night, and I'm right back into jet-lag mode.
Most nights, I need to empty my mind. I write a list, on paper, (not on a device with a blue screen) of things I'm afraid I'll lose track of overnight. Russ Nelson's only really good advice. LOL.
Never watch the news at night, or anything upsetting or mentally stimulating, or too loud. Don't argue with your wife at night.
OH and I fly to the UK about twice a year from west coast OZ so have to deal with either a 7 or 8 hour time difference. We find flying west is less of a problem and seem to be on UK time after a couple of days. We try to book flights which see us land in Britain in the mid to late evening so we head to bed fairly quickly after getting to our accommodation. However coming east is horrible...it wasn't too bad when we were a lot younger but it now seems to take us more than two weeks and then some to get back into our regular time zone.Awake until around 4 AM then sleeping until almost noon. So far we haven't found anything that helps. I shall give some of the suggestions a try next time.
That was the direction that caused me the imbalance in my circadian cycle as well. I flew west over the North American continent, from JFK airport to Shanghai (non-stop each way.) Flying back, we took the same route due east. W/a 14-15 hour timezone change it was hell for several weeks. My doctor prescribed something similar to Ambien just to get me on a schedule and it still took time. My sleep cycle was totally screwed up. Not while I was touring however, thankfully. I was fine during my trip.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2018 06:39AM by Amyjo.
I am a long haul airline pilot. The rules I live by are to eat light and healthy when on a trip, avoid caffeine, always get a cardio workout, sleep when tired, and occasional melatonin. I also carry an eye mask and use a white noise generator. But I honestly think the best thing that works for me is to sleep when I am tired and not to push myself. I know many people try and "push through" it and those are the folks who seem to constantly suffer.
There's a difference depending on how long you are in a particular place. I presume, with no understanding, that you go somewhere for a day or two and then move on? If so, then it's easiest to try to stay with the schedule at home as much as possible: attempting not to adjust away from your natural schedule. But if someone has to stay somewhere for more than three or so days, and needs to work on the new time schedule, then sleeping when tired is impossible.
I've had both sorts of experiences. More common was trips to different countries for several days or even a couple weeks. But at one point I had a boss who would ask me to fly intercontinentally for a single meeting or perhaps two meetings. In those cases, I tried to stay with my home sleeping schedule and not adjust to the new place.
It is the week-long trips that are the hardest for me. The first day or two I am so exhausted that I sleep reasonably well. But by day four or five, I'm truly lost between time zones and particularly in the late afternoon, feel considerable discomfort. Then on day seven or eight, fly home and go through it all again.