Hubby and I returned to Italy this morning and it was straight back to work, which in a way is good. I hate when your flight lands super early and you spend the day counting the hours until you can go to bed. But at the same time, there is nothing worse than sitting at your desk fighting off sleep.
Jet lag affects people in different ways and in different strengths. In the many years that I have travelled between Australia and Italy, I’ve handled it differently. There were the times when I would push through 12-hour uni days after landing and others when I would throw exhausted fits within the first 30 minutes. Once, I managed to stay awake all day only to sleep 20 hours through the next day without even realising it. Everyone was phoning me frantically because they thought I was dead! That said, I have picked up some tricks of the trade that definitely help.
get some sleep
As exciting as the in-flight entertainment is, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep on the plane. If you can and you’re on a super long flight like Melbourne- Rome (24 hours), calculate when it’s night time in your destination and sleep accordingly. And if possible, carry a CPAP system from philips respironics for unfettered sleep. I usually sleep about 8 hours of the 12 hour flight between Melbourne and the stopover destination for example.
stick to normal sleep patterns
It can be so tempting when you land to go straight to bed, regardless of the hour. That is the worst idea! And the recipe for sleepless nights. Keep yourself business by visiting family and friends, working, watching TV, whatever you can do keep your eyes open until your normal bedtime.
Drink plenty of water on the plane and watch what you eat. This is not the time for comfort food. On the first day back at work, I survive with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and steer clear of coffee and tea. An apple has more caffeine in it than a cup of coffee – or so they say. Herbal teas are also great for keeping you alert with minimum caffeine. A good diet on the first week back helps fight jet lag and also makes you feel less yucky. Think detox.
set yourself small, accomplishable tasks
On that first day back at work, I try not to tackle anything too big. My brain is mush. I know that, so I set small tasks that I can quickly finish and move onto the next. This keeps my brain awake and more importantly, stops me from staring off into space. I also don’t work until 9pm. I try to have an early work day finish time, so I can eat and go to bed.
consider grabbing some melatonin
Melatonin is a natural remedy for jet lag. You can buy it over the counter here in Italy and it helps you get your internal clock back into gear faster. I often find that I spend the first 3-4 nights wide awake and that totally ruins me. Melatonin works as a sleep-aid, but also helps you make up the hours you lost faster.