Coping with jet lag

Shot from in-flight over Texas, by Kevan Hall
Shot from in-flight over Texas, by Kevan Hall

When we asked our team of specialists for their tips for travelling, for our readers who work in global roles.

They came up with enough for a whole series of blogs, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the series.  Since the team spends a lot of time travelling, preparing for it, or recovering from it, it was inevitable that the subject of jet lag would come up.

Their tips include:

Starvation re-sets the body clock. Don’t eat on the plane (anything…at all). Instead, eat the appropriate meal for the time of day before you get on the plane, then eat the appropriate meal for the time of day when you get off the plane. (Leave it 30 minutes after you’ve left the airport, ideally). Non-alcoholic drinks are fine, but don’t eat anything in between (not even the snacks). It’s really effective to avoid jet lag – in either direction. (Janet Davis)

Seek the sunshine to help adjust more easily. (We’ve learned that having windows in the training room also helps to deal with jet lag.) (Peter Guendlig)

If you’re going East, go to bed early (9 PM-ish) and start work at 4 AM on your emails  – it helps you to stay in the European time zone, avoiding jet lag when back home, suggests Peter Guendlig (based out of Germany).

By contrast, Janet Davis suggests you reset your watch to the time at the arrival destination as soon as you get on the plane. And keep it that way until you return home. Lots of travellers say repeatedly: “I’m tired, because it’s 4 am at home”. No, it’s not! It’s whatever time it is, wherever you are.  Live with it. Forget what time it might be elsewhere in the world.

Can you take something to help? Jerome Docherty Bigara recommends a homeopathic remedy called No-Jet-Lag‘ from New Zealand.

This recommendation lead to a discussion about Melatonin, (legal in the US), a contentious hormone treatment,that appears to help with jet lag by helping re-establish sleep patterns.

Opinions on its use range vastly. It can cause reduced alertness, as well as the long term effects of it being unknown/untested, but a quick search online revealed many advocates.

Why mention it here?

The debate raises an issue around the stresses placed on an individual’s body when working globally and travelling constantly – not so much over short distances, but over long distances and time zones:

  • Do employers owe it to their staff to discuss the stress of jet lag, and how to deal with it, with them?
  • How understanding are colleagues?
  • What in initiatives does your company have in place?
  • What works for you?

We’d love to hear your views.

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