Calling All Travelers - Jetlag Help

Discussion in 'Community' started by efoto, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #1
    So I'm going to start this and head home, sorry but it is late here.

    I am finally up with my time in France, heading home a week from today. I'm curious if anyone has good advice on how best to combat and overcome jetlag on the return trip?

    The flight here isn't all that bad because you simply gain 6 hours which just fast-forwards your day so as long as you can force-sleep a little bit early or just have a long night initially, getting over it in the to-Europe direction is easy, at least for me. My concern come with the return trip, losing 6 hours which effectively stagnates my day because the flight is 8-9 hours long. I leave Frankfurt, DE at noon (roughly) and arrive in Washington DC at 3pm. So the problem being at 3 it will feel like 9, then I have to wait for two hours, flight from DC-Det. arriving near 7 (feeling like 1AM) and then a two hour drive home to GR assuming optimal traffic, which should put me there around 10PM realistically (feels like 4AM at this point).

    Any help would be great, I have 20 credits of lecture starting the following Monday, thankfully the first week isn't too bad but awake is still better. Thanks.
     
  2. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #2
    Actually going west is supposedly easier.

    Best advice I have is stay up past sunset local. Watching it set also helps.
     
  3. shambolic macrumors regular

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    #3
    Couldn't agree more. Just about every Europe-bound transatlantic flight I've taken has been a night flight, dumping me in the UK around 7am. Given that I sleep very badly on planes, finding yourself at the start of a brand new day, having not slept since the night before last, is not a pleasant experience at all. Particularly when after getting off the plane, there's still a three or four hour train ride to my final destination.

    Coming back is much easier. Typically arrive in the US anytime from early afternoon to early evening. Eat a decent meal at the proper time, and try to "split the difference" between your normal routine and what your body wants to do when going to bed - i.e. if you'd normally sleep at 11pm, retire at 9pm instead.

    The next day you may feel a little sleepy, but in 10+ trips, I've never felt jet lag more than one day afterwards.

    Good luck :)
     
  4. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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  5. ebow macrumors 6502a

    ebow

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    #5
    That's what I've found as well. If you stay up until close to a normal (by the local clock) bedtime, you'll probably feel exhausted and fall asleep no problem, waking up pretty much in-sync with your new time zone.

    Watch yourself on driving from DTW to GR, though--even if you have enough "awakeness" your concentration could be shot by then.
     
  6. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #6
    Drink water on the plane ;) but like Nicky says, avoid the alcohol. There's no harm in trying to sleep a little on the flight - even if it's only a cat nap.

    It sounds like you have enough rushing about from place to place when you get back that you shouldn't have a problem with jetlag. I find when I fly out to San Francisco that it's only if I sit down on my pal's sofa that I conk out. If I'm perching on her bar stools chatting or if I'm out and about, I'm OK. It's definitely easier going west.

    My only concern would be you driving back up to GR if you're really tired but I guess you'll have to excitement of getting home and seeing friends/family. Is there no chance of one of them coming down to Detroit to drive back with you and help keep you awake? Otherwise lots of stops at Starbucks for espressos?
     
  7. redeye be macrumors 65816

    redeye be

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    #7
  8. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #8
    Hi Efoto,
    (1) Hydration (water) is good. The less alcohol and caffeine, the better.
    (2) Correct that coming West is generally easier and, your body clock (feeling 1 a.m. when it's 10 p.m.) should not be too whacked so, hopefully, you'll be able to get to sleep without too much struggle.
    (3) The formula I've read and used (especially for older.....ahem people) is: 1 day of recovery for every hour's difference in time to bounce back to 100%.
    (4) My latest, long one was return trip Sydney-L.A.-Miami-Quito, Ecuador (39 hour trek) in May. It took me an honest week to get back to "normal".
    (5) For the 48 hour period prior to flying back, try as best as possible to align with D.C. time which would involve retiring a little late, both nights.
    Hope you have a safe flight back.
    X
     
  9. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Long Beach, California
    #9
    It's true that going west is easier, at least in my experience (which isn't a lot).

    Last year I made the flight from LA to Sydney—a 14 hour flight. While mine was longer than yours is, here's what I did, but some of these things you won't want to do.

    The day before I left, I slept most of the day and just relaxed. Then, the night before I left, I stayed up most of the night and got about four hours of sleep. I was pretty wide awake the day I left, but on the plane, I slept to the time of my destination. When I got there, I was wide awake and ready to go (I had a 17 hour day that day).

    Here's the thing: it's reversed from what you're doing. I left at midnight and got there ~7 in the morning. So, here's what I would do if I were you.

    The day before you leave, I'd stay up like usual. Then, that night, go to bed around 3 in the morning. Sleep like a baby until you need to get up to go the airport. On your flight, get some more sleep in. Try to get as much in on your first flight. If all goes well, you should be relatively refreshed when you arrive in D.C. If you're still tired, go ahead and sleep some more on your next plane flights. Otherwise, go ahead and stay up for the next flight, and you should be set to go for your ride home. Hopefully, you'll have enough energy for the ride, but you'll be set to go to sleep once you're home.

    Here are some random pointers:

    Don't stay up all night anytime within the last three days in France. It'll kill you once you're back.

    Don't eat any foods that make you want to sleep, ie, turkey, on your flights.

    On the food note, do eat snacks every once in a while on your trip: it's one of the best things you can do to give your body energy for that drive home.

    Ok, some of this is just general knowledge that the whole world is familiar with, but that's what I've got.
    -Chase
     
  10. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #10
    I travel between Detroit and Japan regulary (12 hour flight). Quoting local times here going to Japan I sleep as much as I can on the plane. Plane leaves at ~4pm and arrives in Japan ~6pm. On the return trip the plane leaves around 1pm and arrives ~11am. I usually stay awake the whole time and then go to bed my regular time.

    Some people who travel with me say that taking Tylenol PM and 2 beers on the plane will put you out for the whole flight. I haven't tried it because alcohol and Tylenol is not a good mix.
     
  11. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    #11
    The four times I've travelled from North America to Europe, I've found the eastward trip easier! I've always left in the evening and arrived in Europe in the morning. I would just stay awake until early evening, get a nice long night's sleep, and wake up the next morning good as gold. When returning I always found it took a few days to get readjusted. I'd be waking up in the middle of the night thinking it should already be mid-morning. But that's just my experience.
     
  12. Guitarius macrumors 6502a

    Guitarius

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    Louisiana
    #12
    I don't sleep more than about 5 hours a night anyway, so jet lag never really bothered me. I eat non-stop on planes, so meal timing never been a problem either. Try that, unless you're diabetic or something. Snack the entire time on peanuts, granola bars, or anything you like. *Shrug* I dunno. I probably wasn't much help.
     
  13. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

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    #13
    Duff-Man says....I don't really have any serious jetlag problems going either way from here on the west coast to/from Europe. I just try to catch a bit of a nap on the plane and get into the "routine" and timeframe of where I am. I seem to have more trouble with the time changes when I fly within North America - the 3 or 4 hours difference sometimes drags me down severely....maybe because those are always work trips...heheheh.....oh yeah!
     
  14. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #14
    That is what I have heard from a lot of friends and family members, they all said going West was harder which is why I was thinking that way. On the trip here, my flight left Detroit at 6PM local time and arrived in Frankfurt, DE at 8AM local time the next day (8hrs flying, 6hr difference). For me, the worst part was waiting for the bus that left at 11AM to take me to where I needed to go. I slept well that night, but honestly by that first full day in France I was feeling quite fine, never really jetlagged at all.

    Coming back it concerns me because the flight leaves at 12PM and arrives to DC at 3PM local time so my body has endured 9 hours of the day however only 3 hours have passed on the clock. To me that just sounds harder than going East, but I could be mistaken. I think getting to DC is fine, it will only feel like 9PM, then I have to wait for 2 hours :( to get to Detroit, which kind of sucks but oh well. Anyone know if DC Customs are more strict than other area customs? I want to know what to try to snag back or not :p

    As far as driving home, I am having one (perhaps both, up to them) of my parents come to meet me in Detroit. I didn't want to leave my car in long-term parking in Detroit (2.5hours from home if something happened) for 3 months, so I had them drop me off and come back to get me, of course they are willing because they are just lovely like that :). So if I do drive it will be a discussion-filled trip which I think would be smart to keep me awake. If I take a seat elsewhere in the car, I have a feeling I'll passout in no-time.

    To bad on the no-alcohol thing, I agree but my airline has free booze so it just sucks :( The way here I drank a ton and slept on the plane, was great the next day.
     
  15. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #15
    I think it may depend on what your usual body-clock is set at (and what you're doing at the other end!)

    For Europeans (or those who have been here some time ;) ), I think it's easier going West to the US. One, you're looking forward to being there since you're on holiday. Second, it's generally easier to stay up late - we've all been at parties etc til 4am! Each time I've been out to the US, it's been relatively easy to stay up til 9pm (West Coast) - 12am (East Coast). Chances are you'll still have been up less than 24 hours.

    On the way home, I now look for a flight that doesn't arrive in the UK until 2pm since by the time I get home it's 4 or 5 and there are only a few hours to go til I can go to bed. I'm usually utterly zonked by then. I think it's because rather than just having a very, very late night, it's actually an entire overnighter followed by a full day so you may have been up for 36 hours or so - unless you're much better than I am at sleeping on planes.
     
  16. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Insert the "free booze" comment, that is how I sleep on planes :D Not overly so, but having a beer or two before sitting for 8 hours usually sends me into a more slumber-minded place than having a coffee before doing nothing for 8 hours. The problem with my flight home is that I'll be tired when I finally arrive in Detroit, but sleeping on the plane with be nearly impossible because of the timing of it, leaving at noon and I don't do well with daytime naps, never have :( so it doesn't really leave the mini-rest during the day to help out the early night.

    Either way I think it will be okay, just head to bed around 11PM/12AM local time back in GR and then wake up around 8 or 9, force myself back into local time. I have a busy day Friday already, and Saturday I move back into my apartment....and we always have a welcome-back party, so that night will be long, drunk, and fun....leading into a long long slumber into the better part of the afternoon for Sunday :D
    The food links and water re-enforcement were all good though. I will try to minimize the booze and coffee and make to stay hydrated, thanks for the help all.
     
  17. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #17
    I usually only try to sleep on 'overnight' flights as opposed to daytime ones but I do the same. A glass of wine with dinner and a liqueur and it definitely helps me drop off. I've also noticed that since getting my iPod with in-ear headphones, I've got a lot more sleep that I previously did on flights. The sound of the aircraft is reduced to a distant hum... and you can't hear people moving around. I have a special 'Sleeping' playlist full of chillout music for times when I have to sleep in a relatively noisy environment!
     
  18. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #18
    There are 4 doctors in my immediate family. On long flights -- those lasting more than 5 hours -- they unanimously advise me to take an aspirin. My system responds well to Bayer so I take one tablet each way. This helps me sleep, reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot from lack of movement that could get lodged near the heart), and prevents headaches. Get up and move about every couple of hours. As others have said, keep yourself hydrated with water (no alcohol and no carbonated beverages).

    ...and if you have a premier frequent flier membership, get upgraded to business or first class. On long haul flights this makes a huge difference.

    There is no magic cure for jetlag. If you're traveling only for a few days it's easy to beat jetlag, but if your system has fully adjusted to a distant time zone, there's no magic solution (i.e. foot massages don't work).

    I find exercise, water, good food, and low-stress environments to reduce jetlag recovery time significantly. The healthier and more active your body is, the better you'll cope with jetlag (and everything else for that matter).
     
  19. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #19
    Alrighty then....
    Exercise, check.
    Water, check.
    Good food, check (as good as the airline will give me, but pre- and post-flight I will eat well, usually do).
    Low-stress, no check. I am returning late Thursday night, I have a ton of business to take care of on Friday, moving into my apartment on Saturday, have Saturday and Sunday to unwind, and then start lectures on Monday with Monday/Wednesday being the worst days of the week, 6 hours of lecture :(.
    Healthy and active, check. I'm hoping all the pluses outweigh the few minus' I listed here, I just keep repeating "you'll be fine" and force myself to believe, that has to work :rolleyes:
     
  20. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Yup, that's about all you can do. Be strong and face life.
     
  21. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #21
    So looking over the flight schedule, and over the bus schedule to get me from Strasbourg, France to Frankfurt, DE, I found out that the bus leaves at 430 and 615, allowing me a choice as both get me there in what I think is enough time to make the flight.

    The 615 bus arrives at the terminal around 930, the flight departs at 1234, is that enough time you think? International flight leaving from an airport that speaks German (and I don't :p) is 3 hours enough?

    I haven't done a lot of international travel, and this last time I was 3 hours early for my flight out of Detroit....I ended up sitting in a chair for 2.5 hours after checking my bags and breezing through security.
     
  22. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #22
    It's always better to arrive good and early for international connections (3 hours should do it). If you are AAPlatinum/Gold, or other FFlyer Status, or First Class, you should have a designated, shorter check-in line to endure. Anyway, sitting and reading, drinking a cup of coffee after having cleared security and check-in is much preferred to the stress of arriving late and raising your stress levels for the day. Good luck,
    X
     
  23. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Ha, 21 year old single male, temporarily employed, a frequent flyer in first class :rolleyes:, I can dream but sadly no.

    I figured 3 hours should do it. I agree being early and relaxing is better than late and rushed, but I also would hate to sit around in an airport for 5 hours when two would do it.
     
  24. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #24
    Sorry, I haven't checked your profile :) But, if it's any consolation, you write like first class ;) And since you're an international educator, I guess I thought you might have the FFlyer stuff going. Anyway, have a nice, safe and unhurried flight :D
    X
     
  25. efoto thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Wow :eek:, thank you. I appreciate the comments although now I have to watch what I write a little more closely :rolleyes:

    Thanks for the safe wishes on my trip too, I'm really starting to look forward to it as today is my last day at work. I tomorrow I have a nice holiday for packing and cleaning and then off to Strasbourg for one last hoorah with a friend. I am quite excited to be heading home and see everyone again. Time away is great but it really proves to me how much I love my friends and family. Absense makes the heart grow fonder they say, in most cases for me that statement has proven true over the last three months.

    Thanks again for all the responses and safe wishes. I'll say a little "I'm back!" once I get home, just so all of you who are staying up waiting can finally go to bed ;)
     

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