Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dealing with Jet Lag: our tricks

The Mister and I are by no means experts on this subject, but it is something that has become a big part of our lives and, in the spirit of letting our readers live vicariously, I thought I would share our tactics for dealing with jet lag.

Some of these might not be new information to you, but here are our time-tested tricks:

1. Nap every chance you can get
We have a super long layover in Germany on our way back to the land of sand this time around, so the Mister and I have booked a day room in a hotel close to the airport. I searched for airport hotels near our layover destination and found the cheapest room that met our needs. There are a few airports in the world that actually have a microtel right inside the airport (Amsterdam Schiphol, for one) so you don't have to deal with the hassle of going back through security when you return to the airport. If you have a layover that is longer than 6 hours, I cannot recommend enough that you spend a little cash on a room in a hotel.

Since our layover will be taking up the better part of one day, the Mister and I are going to get to take a nap, shower, and change clothes before we return to the airport for the third leg of our journey back to the Middle East. This will be huge!
"Nah, I think I'll just save money and sleep at the airport," you say?
I don't know if you've had the pleasure, but it is nearly impossible to hunt down airport benches without arm rests. And once your find them, you can't sleep because of all the noise and announcements. There are some airports that have recliner style benches, but those are hot real estate and you have to stake your claim and not move for the whole duration of your layover. Just not worth it, especially if you're the kind of person who likes to--I dunno-- EAT every 5 hours or so. Nope. We're happy to fork over about a hundred bucks, get real sleep, and feel nice and fresh, thankyouverymuch.

2. If landing at your destination late at night, go to bed right away.
The nice part about our long lay over is that we'll be arriving around the normal time we'd be going to sleep in North America, so our bodies will be ready for some Zs anyway. Once we finally arrive in Kuwait (even though we probably won't be all that tired) with a little help from our good friend NyQuil, we'll be able to go back to sleep while it's dark outside.

We never sleep much on that first night back in the Middle East because our bodies are just so fried, we seem to wake up on our own around 4 am. So we usually get back up around 5 am, take our time getting ready for work or whatever tasks we have to do, and then burn through our first day back in our home away from home.

3. Do something on the first day back.
I had a friend in Saudi who would go shopping on her first day back in the country. The visual stimulation combined with being forced to walk around made for great jet lag (and retail) therapy. Whatever you decide to do, try to spend as much time as possible outside, especially if it's a sunny day. I read somewhere that just looking up at the daytime sky helps to reset your body's internal clock. I have no idea what kind of science went into this finding, and of course I can't find the article now that I want it, but my experience has shown that this little tidbit of information is actually pretty helpful.

But I digress.

The morning and early afternoon of the first day back in the Middle East is never all that hard. But once we get to 2 or 3 pm in the new time zone, we hit the wall and boy oh boy we could kill for a nap! I force myself to stay awake until at least 5 or 6pm on that first day, and let me tell you, that is a real struggle!

4. Go to sleep as close to sunset as possible.
Being that we will be arriving back in the summer time, we will likely be going to sleep while the sun still shines this first time around, but forcing your body to rest as close to sunset as possible will make the second day overseas soo much easier!

As long as you burn through the first day back in town, you should have very little jet lag on the second day. Whatever you do, don't give in and go to sleep before 4pm at the very earliest! You'll get sucked into the vampire cycle: awake all night, sleeping all day. Just keep your mind (or at the very least, your body) occupied for as long as possible on the first day, and you'll be golden.

Vicariously yours,

1 comment:

  1. when I become a jet setter, I will follow these tips. you are a national treasure.