I hate travelling long haul, I have suffered jet lag quite badly in the past and know that it can ruin a holiday or make work more difficult during and after a trip away.
Therefore on a recent work trip I decided to take some advice, and do what I could to prepare myself.
Here are the results:
1.Set your watch to the local time of your destination. And attempt to start to go to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
This was easier than expected. I found it easy to fall asleep earlier, probably due to the winter weather arriving.
2.Attempt to get an upgrade to business class, thus getting some decent sleep on the plane.
I put a jacket on and asked nicely if there were any seats available, but I would advise joining a preferred airlines frequent flyer scheme where members with the most miles generally get bumped up first.
3.Avoid alcohol or caffeine on the plane. Both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.
This was easy enough as they didn’t seem to come around offering too many drinks. However on a Finnair flight a few years ago I remember this was a fail as it was generally a free for all with the predominantly Finnish customers getting roaring drunk and it would have been rude not to join in.
4. Try to get some sleep on the plane at a time that coincides with the destination time zones night time. Thus when you arrive you can remain awake until it is night time.
I did not mange to sleep on the way out, but my arrival time at my destination was the evening so I only had remain upright for a few hours before I could collapse into my new time zone sleep pattern.
On the return flight I checked in online the night before and was able to select my seat in a row of three unbooked seats. I could then lie down and sleep!
5.Make sure your sleep environment at your destination is comfortable.
Result : Success
I took some ear plugs, and the Blackout Buddy just in case. But the hotel had decent blackout curtains and I remembered to switch off my phone and checked the air conditioning was the right temperature. 18c… Perfect!
6.Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.)
Result : Success
Walked to the coffee shop for breakfast alfresco.
Overall I have been ok and have managed to get just about enough sleep, avoiding the temptation to fall asleep in the middle of the day has been key to this success thus ruining all my careful preparation.