It’s been about a week since our TV crew returned from their most recent shoot and in that time they’ve gone through the usual post trip rituals; multiple meetings, writing scripts, and of course not sleeping. There’s something truly sinister about readjusting to a 13-hour time shift. It affects the body in many unnatural ways, sort of like diet soda.
Everyday our office is filled with whiny Producers and Editors fretting about being overtired and feeling like the undead. So I thought someone should step up and write an ode to jet lag, that most ubiquitous of international travel experiences. Jet lag can affect you on both the outbound and inbound portions of your trips although it seems to be worse on the return, after the adrenaline and excitement of a new destination has worn off. About the time your credit card bills are starting to appear, your jet lag should be starting to subside.
A year or so ago when our team was in Japan we stayed at the fantastic Tokyo Park Hyatt, the setting of Sofia Coppola’s great movie Lost in Translation. Fittingly Bill Murray’s character is always my go to image for the ravages of jet lag. He just nailed the stupor of not being able to sleep but also not being able to fully wake up.
Normally I am not too affected by jet lag or time changes but I have endured the odd flight hangover as the President of an unnamed international airline likes to call it. Every road warrior has their own strategies to help minimize the unavoidable side effects of travel. Personally I like to work out regularly, sleep on the plane and not watch five Bruce Willis movies in a row, and of course take a few moments to relax and sample some fine wines. That last trick by the way isn’t medically proven but avoiding the Bruce Willis movies is.
When you’re seriously jet lagged the best advice I have ever heard (again from that airline President) is to simply succumb. Rather than fight the inevitable you have to decide to embrace the jet lag. That means trying to enjoy being up at 5 am and being more productive, indulging in evening naps as a hint to what old age is going to be like, and embrace looking and feeling like a zombie. It saves on liquor bills.
Doctors will tell you that it should take your body one day for each hour of time change you need to work through. Rest, hydration, healthy foods and exercise all help but in the end there isn’t much you can do to speed up the readjustment of your body’s clock. My strategy is to not get too stressed about the lack of sleep and to keep indulging in fine wines. After all life is too short not to enjoy a glass or two along the way.
What about you? what are your tips for beating the ravages of jet lag?