During the 1980’s and 90’s, my older daughter Sophie lived in the USA and I visited her every year for 20 years so became a savvy long haul traveller. The system that I used for preventing jet lag worked brilliantly. Sophie lived near Boston on the east coast of the States and I live in country Tasmania, so the journey took 40 hours door-to-door. It was sometimes necessary for me to go directly from the airport to a party or an opera performance (Sophie’s husband is a tenor) and meet new people. I wanted Sophie to be proud of me: in the US, Aussies often seem rather exotic to the locals and it’s common to find yourself the centre of attention. Needless to say, complicated packing arrangements were involved – the quick change, A.P.C. (sponge armpits and crotch) and the best I could do with make-up in the airport terminal’s disabled toilet cubicle. I had to rise to the occasion and be a sparkling social butterfly – there was no place for jet lag to slow me down.
Think of the businessman who must be alert and able to wheel and deal straight away. The athlete who must compete almost immediately.
HERE IS MY SYSTEM
N.B This is written specifically for ladies, but adapts easily for the boys.
- Wear two wrist watches and set one on the time at your destination and keep the other on local time. Alternatively you can use your smart phone.
- Change the watch set on local time as the times change during your journey so that you are ready for every connecting flight.
- Immediately you board your international flight use the clock set on the time at your destination. Live by the routines as at your destination for eating and sleeping so that your body clock gradually adapts.
This is a mind game and you will have to say to yourself from time to time, “I am having a very early (late) dinner: and “I think that I will take an afternoon nap”. You may have to miss one meal and select an afternoon or morning tea amount for another.
After dinner and when your destination watch tells you it is time to sleep, remove your slacks and wrap the supplied blanket around your waist; tuck to secure. Fold slacks and stow under the seat in front. Believe me, even though you and your fellow travellers could not be closer, no one will notice you slipping off jeans and covering up with the rug (spread on your seat as best you can for a quick wrap over). I never do this in the toilet cubicle – too small and often not fresh; I don’t want my slacks to touch the floor!
Now visit the toilet cubicle and remove make-up, dab on face cream. This will register in your mind as getting ready for bed. Expect only to sleep for four to six hours. Request another rug if you like.
TIP: Instead of using an eye mask, pull your lightweight wrap over our head; leave a breathing gap – rather like being in a tent. I use earplugs and a neck pillow for comfort.
On waking, try to doze and daydream for another couple of hours then go through your morning routine so that registers too. Visit the ladies’ again (good opportunity to change panties and T-shirt). Have an APC, apply some deodorant powder here and there, cleanse the face, arrange the hair, do any moisturiser and make-up that requires a large mirror. Return to your seat and pull on the slacks. Attend make-up details in your seat using your compact mirror. You have now got up and prepared for the day and are ready for “breakfast” whenever and in whatever form it is served. By now your body clock will be adjusting well to the routine. There will probably be a few more hours to pass before landing, so try to fit in a nap.
Drink lots of water and remember that if you take a glass of wine, beer or similar in flight you need to drink about two litres of water to compensate. This won’t cause you to be running to the loo all the time, in the manufactured atmosphere of the plane your body needs all that fluid to keep up the balance.
Most aeroplanes have drinking fountains and cups for passengers’ use – usually located around the galley.
It is extremely satisfying on arrival at your destination to see both wrist watches displaying the same time. You will be in sync. with that part of the world and able to cope with anything. Now stay up and awake until it is bedtime there; but our can have a very early night!
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