As someone who has frequently traveled to London, I can confidently say that I have mastered the art of European travel in such a manner as to avoid any jet lag. The flight to London is a rather short one, barely allowing for a full night’s sleep but as we humans do so well, I have developed a system that works rather swimmingly.
My preferred choice of flight is one that aligns with the time I normally go to bed. When flying through the night the trick is to try and maximize your sleep time. In order to do so one must be extremely focused on that goal and avoid getting sucked into the many distractions that will tempt us. Stay laser focused.
This is much easier said than done because we all enjoy getting free stuff from the airlines. We feel compelled to take advantage of whatever is being given to us especially when flying business class where the perks are bountiful. Free newspapers and magazines, an assortment of top-shelf cocktails including fine wine and champagne, countless movies that you never had a chance to see in the theaters. It is all so tempting but NO! You have to stay strong and disciplined and resist all temptation because each service steals your precious z’s.
In order to create a somewhat quiet environment, I like to use silicon ear plugs that muffle out all the noise of the airplane engine. Once I’ve plastered them into my ears, I can’t hear a thing including safety instructions given by the crew. An unintended yet welcomed consequence, if the plane goes down, I won’t hear a thing. When I land I continue to nap in the cab on the way to the hotel and if I am lucky I will sit in London traffic for 90 minutes. This gives me another full hour of sleep and now I have banked about 7 hours in total, which is all I require to be sprite.
I always feel that it is necessary to instruct the crew, not to wake me for meals. You would think it would be part of their code to never wake a sleeping passenger but for some reason they feel as though they are doing you a disservice if they don’t feed you your highly processed meal. This is mostly true of the British Airlines because the Brits are so damned polite. Most American flight attendants could care less whether or not you eat, sleep or poop as long as you don’t bother them. I can’t say that I blame them entirely as I’ve seen how poorly they can be treated by rude and demanding customers. As a slight divergence, be mindful of this when flying and always be polite to the flight crew. Keep in mind that although they are there to serve you, they are not your servants.
Traveling to other European countries is even easier if you use this method because you add flight time the further east you go. But traveling to Asia, now that is a different story. The last time I flew to Singapore, I tried to outsmart my jet lag by getting on local time before I even left the States. I went to bed at my usual time but set my alarm for midnight. This gave me about two hours of sleep. I stayed up through the night and left for the airport in the morning. My flight was at 10 am which was about 10 pm in Asia. I took an Ambien as soon as I boarded the plane and I slept for 18 hours straight. When I awoke I felt awfully groggy and couldn’t even stay awake on the next leg of the flight. When I landed, I had dinner and went to bed at 10 pm, slept for two hours and then my nightmare began.
I was up all night Saturday going into Sunday. I figured that I would adjust through the day and would crash the next night. At dinner on Sunday I wanted some sleep insurance so I drank an entire bottle of wine. Then I hit the bricks but yet again, I slept for two hours and then was wide awake. I began to stress myself out which then created sleep anxiety. The panic sent my heart racing and I was fully jacked up. I kept getting out of bed and pacing around the room. I began to search through my toiletries to see if I could find any type of muscle relaxer or something, but I had nothing. Well, I did have I an Ambien but the doctor explicitly warned me of the dangers of mixing Ambien with alcohol. So I did what I normally do I called my ex-husband for advice. He assured me that with my partying experience that one clean pharmaceutical mixed with alcohol will not kill me. Frustrated by my neurotic set of questions, he ordered me to take the Ambien and promised me that I wouldn’t OD. So I did, but that didn’t work either. It took me a full week to get over my jet lag, just in time to go home.
Today, I leave for Asia and will once again try to combat jet lag. This time I will try going totally natural. No tricks, no alcohol and definitely no drugs. Let’s see how it goes.