Let’s face it, jet lag can be horrendous. Scooting off to some far-flung corner of the planet is so bloody exciting that we forget the basics – like how are we to maintain our biorhythm when we’ve crossed the International Date Line?
Sleep-depravation can do funny things to our cognitive functions.
There is a pile of scientific research available on jet lag. What scientists don’t tell you is how to survive it as a couple. Sure, it’s fine when you can stomp off to your room or dorm and ignore everyone that you come into contact with as an independent traveller. But when you’re sharing that space with your life partner, sh1t can get real.
Sleep-depravation can do funny things to our cognitive functions. We can turn into nagging old bags or miserable whiney babies when we’ve missed our bed time even by a few hours.
For us, most of the time we’re too busy downing cocktails in some cheap bar swiftly upon arrival in our destination city ourselves to worry about jet lag. But when it sets in, it sets in with a vengeance.
Here are our tried and tested (if not somewhat not-so-scientific) TOP 3 ways in which to help regulate sleeping patterns quickly and avoid all-out pillow war with your partner:
1. Avoid all caffeinated beverages and foods such as chocolate and coffee while in transit and for the first few days of your trip
Simple idea? Yes. But it’s tempting to seek out the first decent barista in the airport lounge, desperate for that instant hit of energy. Avoid it at all costs. You’ll only find that your adrenal glands get burned out and you’ll be twitching a few hours later. Twitching = irritability = not a fun travelling partner.
As I can be a bit sensitive to caffeine, I also try to avoid it for 24-48 hours prior to departure.
2. Stop your partner from consuming caffeinated food & bev.
When my other half has coffee he won’t shut up until he starts to “feel weird” and then the sugar cravings start. Spending precious time searching for a vending machine the moment you clear customs when you could already be on the way to your hotel is not an ideal situation.. and that extra sugar only means that a good night’s rest will be harder to come by.
3. Book flights that arrive in the evening/late afternoon at your final destination
This is especially useful when I have travelled long-haul. We both get a little tetchy around 12 hours into a journey. We hardly ever sleep anyway (what with always travelling in Economy) so arriving in the afternoon gives us the chance to get settled into our digs, get some grub and then (hopefully) some shut eye soon thereafter.
TOP TIPS for actually getting to sleep
- Have a good book or magazine handy. It will tire out your eyes. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to read a few paragraphs before you pass out.
- Turn off the television, any bright lights and your darn mobile device at least 30-60 mins before you plan on hitting the hay. Updating your FB status can wait. You’ll benefit from peace and quiet as you try to unwind from a day (or more) of check-in queues, delayed flights and airplane food.
Ideas for using sleepless hours constructively:
- Write a travel journal of the day’s events. This helps me when my memory fails me (and it does)
- Plan an itinerary for the following day. Study those guidebooks, read the maps and decide on your next day’s activities.
- Don’t sleep in. If necessary, set an alarm – allow yourself 8 hours and stick to it. Chances are you’ll end up with the same problem the next night if you don’t.
Lastly, be sympathetic to your partner. If you are sleeping fine and they’re not, it can be really difficult for them to keep up with you during the day. Plan activities that you can both manage until your jet-lag becomes no-lag. You’ll avoid an argument and the last thing you want is to tire yourselves out even more.
What jet-lag remedies have worked for you?
Category: Health & Happiness