TL;DRFast for at least 12 hours and eat your first meal during meal time in your destination’s timezone. Avoid light before and during your flight. Soak in all the light during the day and dim your lights in early evening for the first few days.
East is a beast
Being born and raised in Hawaii has its perks – but traveling is not one of them. Going anywhere outside of the state requires a 5-hour flight, minimum. Living in NYC for 4 years also meant a LOT of 10.5 hour flights across four time zones to go home for holidays and weddings – sometimes for just a weekend.
I’ve tried a ton of ways to get over jet lag. Read every “how to cure jet lag” post on the Internets, and honestly still struggled with it every time I flew.
My problem? The advice given is useful, but not very practical. I mean, seriously? Who has time to start moving back their sleep schedule the week before a trip? Don’t you people work? Hahaha. This week, I flew over to NYC for an epic #girlstrip, and the week before I left was: 4 hours of sleep every night, scrambling on work projects and the insane task of getting to Japan. So no. I definitely was not in bed by 8pm and waking up at 4am.
Fasting and Light Exposure
That being said – there was one consistent piece of advice on several blogs that I have never tried before: Fast and control your exposure to light. Maybe it’s because I hate saying no to free food (yes, even airplane food) and in my youth, I was self-conscious about looking weird on a flight.
As I’ve gotten older (hello 30’s) I’ve not only cared less about things, I’ve also experienced next level jetlag, likely because I just don’t recover like I used to (hello 3-day hangovers). Since all four of us only have this one weekend together, I decided I’d do everything I could to minimize the jetlag and extend our QT.
In terms of eating, I ate lunch around 1pm and made sure to eat something pretty substantial. I drank a ton of water and passed up the free dinner offered on the flight. Tried my best to sleep for most of the flight, but the crying kid 2 rows back + guy behind me tapping like a crazy person on his video screen wasn’t exactly helpful.
I also opted to look like a crazy person wearing sunglasses (these were actually blue light blocking glasses) from the moment I got to the airport until we were at cruising altitude which is when I switched it up with an eye mask.
Our flight was delayed almost 2 hours, so that was a LONG journey. 12 hours sitting on that plane. I ate the fruit and had some herbal tea at 6am NYC time, but left the sunglasses on until I got on the train at 9am.
All things considered, I didn’t nod off on the train to Philly or even feel too tired. I met up with the girls and we were out and about until midnight. Fell asleep almost immediately and woke up at 8am the next day without an alarm.
Usually day 2 is the worst for me – but this time I felt 100%! I didn’t have coffee. Repeat, NO COFFEE. Still survived our ~ 10-mile explorations around the City. Have to admit – I’m amazed and totally believe in this now.
If you haven’t tried fasting – give it a shot. Realistically, I probably don’t need to eat anything on flights anyway – my body’s not exactly in need of energy while I sit there not moving for 12 hours.
Any other tips that have worked for you guys?