Oct 202014

I should have patented it.

When I first came up with my jet lag prevention scheme, there seemed to be great debate about how to prevent jet lag. Drink alcohol to help you sleep on the plane. Don’t drink alcohol on the plane.

Eat lightly on the plane. What you eat doesn’t matter.

Take a sleeping pill. Don’t take a sleeping pill because it will make you groggy. In fact, there are a whole range of medications offered to prevent jet lag, as well as theories on body pressure points or exposing the back of your knee to light. (!?)

One friend even had an elaborate eating regimen that included turkey, nuts, and I don’t know what else, consumed at appropriate intervals in flight. Needless to say, she had to pack her own food to make this work.

All of those methods either seemed complicated, or had proven not to work for me. So I started a system that seemed bizarre to everyone at the time. About a week before my trip, I start getting up one hour earlier each morning in an attempt to gradually shift my body clock. I reasoned that if I could shift my body clock about four hours before I left, I’d only be off schedule by five hours when I arrived in Europe. And at least three hours of that time difference wouldn’t bother me any more than a trip to the east coast.

It messes up your regular life a bit. I’m not a real fun date a few days before I leave since I need to be in bed by 8 p.m. to get up at 3 a.m. When the majority of my waking, non-work hours are before 6 a.m., it’s a little hard to get errands done (not a lot of drugstores are open those hours). And I find that I’m usually ready for lunch about 8 or 9 a.m.

Still, this method usually allows me to sleep well my first night of my trip, get up the next morning, and not even notice I’m in a different time zone.

My friends used to look at me oddly when I described my routine. But now it looks like it’s become the norm. When I Google jet lag prevention, I find that Fodor’s, the U.S. National Library of Health, the CDC, ABC News, and probably countless others now list this as one of the top ways to prevent jet lag.

I should have patented it.

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