If you’re interested in particular technology, you might find yourself travelling between continents while passing multiple time zones to attend certain tech conferences and/or manufacturers. For the past years, I’ve been flying through nine time zones twice a year and will be flying through twelve for the first time next year (if my schedule permits).
According to Wikipedia a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline for adjusting to Jetlag, but this is no good to us when we’re only in town for a week…
Below are my tips to cope with jetlag with a far more efficient recovery rate, although you won’t be able to guess the time of day during your stay:
Tips for coping with Jetlag
Know your body
Some people have problems when travelling East. Others have problems when they’re travelling West. Some people adjust well to time zone differences, while others don’t.
Knowing your body, in these cases, makes all the difference when coping with Jetlag. When your body magically adjusts to large time zone differences, you won’t need any of these tips. When you have severe problems adjusting, don’t just rely on the tips below, but also make a visit to your GP and get additional medication (that don’t collide with any other medication already prescribed).
Your body performs routine functions during the day at certain intervals. Knowing these functions, especially the ones performed by your liver will help you cope more efficiently.
Eat and drink wisely
To this purpose, eat and drink wisely.
Prior to flying to your destination, you can already start working on coping with Jetlag. When flying West, you could already avoid eating heavy breakfasts. When flying East, try to eat some additional snacks after 9 PM. Just don’t overdo it. It’s more important to get 8 hours of sleep in the days prior to your departure than to have your eating adjusted.
Knowing about carbs is beneficial when you’re coping with Jetlag. Foods with high amounts of fast carbs (like potatoes, rice, and pasta) will help you get sleepy, while foods without carbs (like cheese, eggs, meats) won’t. Eating low-carb breakfasts and lunches will help you lengthen your days when flying West.
Get into the rhythm
During your flight, the flight crew helps you to get into the rhythm of your destination. Meals will be served at convenient times and cabin lights will be dimmed for your convenience, when appropriate.
At your destination get into the same rhythm as the locals. Eat when they eat, and sleep when they sleep. After all, you won’t be able to eat in restaurants in the Mediterranean area outside of the normal eating hours (after 10 PM) or get shopping done during Siesta. (between 2 PM – 5 PM)
Adjust your clocks
Adjust the time zone on the devices you use. Since we check the time on our mobile phones these days, this should be the first device to adjust. Adjusting the clock will help you get into the rhythm and fool your unconscious: you won’t be calculating time back to your original time zone and, thus, won’t be reminded of the time zone you left behind.
Harness the power of Outlook
Microsoft Outlook has excellent time zone management for your appointments with time zone support and its dual time zone display.
When you create an appointment, you can use the Time Zones toggle switch on the Appointment ribbon. This will enable the time zone fields to the right of appointment times. By default, time zones are turned off, so they don’t clutter the interface.
Dual time zone support is awesome, but requires a little more work. To turn it on, go to Options under File, select Calendar in the right pane and then scroll down to Time Zones. Add a second time zone. Now when you view the calendar in a day planner format, you’ll see two time scales displayed.
Sunlight heals even the most stubborn Jetlag. So, get outside during the day. The most efficient time to do so is at sunset, because this triggers your body to create melatonin, nature’s natural sleep medicine.
Use your time efficiently
You can’t avoid Jetlag altogether. As far as attitudes go , though, you can look at Jetlag as both positive and negative. I choose the first: whenever I’m sleepless in Seattle at 2 AM, I take the time to get some mail done, get some blogging and/or research done and, of course, get to the gym to kickstart the day.
Every negative has a positive.