Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fighting Jet Lag

 Bag by Barbara Rhil
We all love going to Paris.

 It's the coming home and the attendant jet lag that sucks.

 Yesterday while tossing out papers I found an old NYTimes article on fighting jet lag saved from 1997.
 I'm still fighting Jet lag. I can depend on a solid two weeks of it when I return from a trip. The 'walking through water' sensation is a regular for the 1st few days.

 Waking up and wanting breakfast at 2:30 AM is another reliable symptom.

 Plus falling asleep comatose at 7:30 PM.
No matter how much I force myself to eat coffee ice cream + drink coke (for the caffein) nothing seems to work.

 I'm not keen on taking medication

 Though they say coming home (going west) is an easier adjustment for the body, it's the opposite for me. I have no Jet lag going to Paris. But then a week or so ahead my body automatically goes on Paris time waking up insanely early at 3 AM and ready to start the day bla bla bla. The return trip adjustment is always hellish.

 This trip back was different.
I had to leave my apartment by 10:30 AM and my flight was not till 7 PM. It's well known the last weeks of July there is a mad exodus out of Paris. Parisians are taking off for their summer vacance. The roads are jammed and so are the airports. Plus it was a Friday - the worst day to travel. I knew Charles de Gaulle airport would be crazy bad, so I decided to just spend the entire day there. Instead of my usual tearing around the last day like mad person buying last minute stuff and taking last minute pictures. Et voila.

 CDG was a madhouse of travelers when I arrived at noon. So much so AirFrance told me to wait 1 1/2 hours before going through customs. The lines were horrendous. When they did let me through, the line was short and managable. I went into every gift shop in CDG and looked at every single product for about 7 hours. The result was total mindlessness like at a yoga retreat.

 I even took this picture of a dog in the ladies loo!

  For some unknown reason it's near impossible to read a book or focus on a computer inside the airport or on the plane. No matter the best of intentions. After vegging out in the airport for 7 hours, you board the plane for another 7-8 hours of vegging out.

 The airport time + plane travel puts you into a kind of braindead trans-like state.

The end result of spending my last day in Paris basically doing zero is I have little or no Jet lag post trip! Go figure. I feel like I've licked the common cold. What do you do for Jet lag?


Marilyn Miller said...

It doesn't seem like I have jet lag which ever direction I fly when I am going, but it is the coming home that gets me. I just have to sleep for a couple days and then I am OK. I do find, if time permits, it is fun to visit airport shops; but 7 hours does seem abit mind numbing. Maybe that is in the end what helped.

Vivian Swift said...

I take advantage of jet lag, and enjoy the way it skews my routine. So what if I spend a few days eating breakfast at 3 in the afternoon? Or find myself wide awake at 3 in the morning? i'm such a creature of habit that jet lag is an almost welcome way to get me out of my rut.

I recently spent nine hours in the Nashville airport, waiting out thunderstorms in the Northeast (for a 1 and a half hour flight home to Long Island), and I enjoyed it very much. Nashville has a darling airport, and having nothing to do ALL DAY is a rare luxury, and the people-watching was hilarious. When the planes finally started moving again, and people were being herded onto dozens of delayed flights, this is how the kind folks at Nashville International Airport call for the stragglers:

"Last call for passenger Gloria Smith on Delta Flight 007 to Chicago. Last call for Gloria Smith: Gloria, we love you, but we WILL leave you in Nashville."

Love that Southern graciousness.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Mind numbing is exactly the word for it Marilyn.
I hate being bored and yet there are some real positive aspects to doing nothing.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Wonderful story. Makes me want to head South.

Chic Delights said...

Funny pictures and such a fun blog post. I agree with you that you enter a state of Mindlessness when waiting in the airport for several hours. You got to do your best to entertain yourself. It is time to relax and just wait. I hope you enjoy your trip.

Sage said...

Most people wouldn't like the inconvenience of it but if I leave my watch set to my 'home' time zone while I'm away, jet lag is substantially reduced. It may be my imagination - no scientific or hormonal (ie melatonin) basis for it I'm sure, but it really seems to work!


Parisbreakfasts said...

thanks, I had a terrific trip Pamela
I just didn't plan on 'wasting' a day but it was worth it.

Nikon said...

That last day sounds like torture! I don't think that there is any way that I could kill seven hours like that!
I'm glad that you got rid of the jet lag for the return trip.....

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

On my one and onl trip abroad, I found that going to Britain the jet lag only lasted one day, but coming home...I'm not sure I'm recovered yet!

Risa said...

Carol, in my heart of hearts I feel this is so much more than 'jetlag'. You're already living in Paris, or France, or both on so many levels and returning back to New York (however lovely a place it is) takes a toll on you at every level more and more IMHO because it's simply 'not where you wish to be'. Yes perhaps this is a tad too analytical, but on the other hand, perhaps truth be told, on the Freudian scale, it may be truer than true. Your heart belongs to 'Paris' as does your mind, body and spirit. BTW, your profile picture is LOVELY!!! Carla did a a beautiful job on an already beautiful person - c'est magnifique!! xoxo

Frances said...

Carol, it's the eastward overnight flights that have always given me that jet lag thing. Usually, I've been able to recover by the next full day. Sunrise, sunset. Etc.

Homeward bound on my most recent flight, I was so lucky to have the upgrade to a more luxe area of the plane. I'd given myself a day off back in NYC to recover, but actually had no jet lag. What is that commercial line about some sort of membership having its privileges? Guess my very independent research says that it is true.

I've always found international airports sort of fascinating. With my pen and little notebook it's always been fun to think up storylines for my fellow passengers, and even think up some fantasy versions for myself.


Connie said...

I was a flight attendant for many years. I had perpetual jet lag! I did find that the best way to deal with it was to take a long brisk walk in the bright day light and to never take a nap longer than 30 minutes. I still felt pretty goofy much of the time, tho. Oh well...

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thanks but actually it isn't Risa.
I've had the same jet lag for years because I didn't know how to pace myself.
I do tent to overdo things.
Making the move to Paris a reality is not at all a dreamlike process. Quite the opposite in fact.
Carla IS fabulous and can create miracles.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Being upgraded definitely improves the ride over but never affected my jet lag one way or the other. Though I do think last minute stress doesn't help a bit.

Parisbreakfasts said...

That must have been very difficult! wow

Geri, NJ said...

I also have jet lag returning home to NJ ... never going eastward. Fortunately, I just do one sleep marathon and then I'm pretty much over it. I tend to be a night owl, so I wonder if that's a factor in a faster recovery?

Parisbreakfasts said...

And I'm a lark - always up before dawn.
Wonder if that is a factor?
good point Geri

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Love all your photos and comments, Carol. Yep, needing some advice on jet lag since I'm one of these Paris dwellers who is now dying to get out - and heading to NYC! I'll follow Geri's advice and stick with being a night owl. Sounds good to me.

Unknown said...

oooh jet lag is the PITS. We got back from Italy last April and I affected me the MOST when we got back to the US. Oh man, but coffee icecream now that is a great remedy! ha

Just thought I'd comment (since I was sort of blog stalkin' ya ha) :-) Come on over and follow along Color Issue--I think you might enjoy it!

Maureen Reynolds said...

Going east, I take an Ambien and sleep through the night. Coming from CA to the east coast isn't quite as easy since I rarely take red eyes. But when I have that short sleep on a flight to Europe, and I often skip the meal, I wake up pretty much ready to go.

What I do in addition to this is some JinShinJyutsu energy work. Hold each finger, starting with the thumb, of the opposite hand for 5 minutes in turn. If you are right handed, use that hand as the holding hand, and your left as the one with the fingers being held in turn. Simple, subtle, and effective. My dh, the engineer, finally has admitted that it 'kinda, sorta works'. I know it does work for him because I can tell his sleep patterns.

I don't begrudge the inability to be on the ipad for that 30 minutes like he does. I just put a meditation tape on my ipod and zen out.

There is no doubt that air travel these days is not a great joy. Minimizing our stress any way does help.

Anonymous said...

Going to Paris from Melbourne Australia carries a flight time of 24 to 26 hours. Then you have to check in 2 hours in advance and I live an hours drive from the airport. At the Paris end I have to go through customs (quicker on an EU passport), find transport and get into Paris. If there are no delays at all that's about 30 hours of travelling. So we never want to return home in only one week! Gwendoline

Parisbreakfasts said...

YIKES Gwendoline!
I feel your...Jet Lag!
no wonder so many Aussies move to Paris..
To avoid the Jet lag

Parisbreakfasts said...

I agree Maureen,
it's all about minimizing our stress whichever way works.
Thanks for mentioning JinShinJyutsu energy work
Very interesting!

Little Pieces of Light said...

Ah, this was THE perfect post to read after my sister has just flown 9 hours from Vancouver to visit me in Paris. But she has somehow managed to kick the 9-hour time difference in just 3 days. Eating well definitely helps - something that turns out to be a sacrifice when you're in Pastry Capital - but I do believe it speeds up the time adjustment somehow.

x Milla


Louise said...

Jet lag is always unacceptable and unwelcome, and a little bit random at times. As Gwendoline has said Australia to France is pretty much 24 hours of actual flight time. That alone is tiring, and then the time difference. Blergh. Last time we went to Europe we had a break in Singapore, so did Singapore-CDG-Dublin, arriving there early afternoon. We had a brief nap when we arrived, waking my son up from that nap was one of the hardest things I've ever done- I think it took about 40 minutes! Still he then adjusted perfectly. It all gets a bit worse as you get older too I think. Although years of shift work has softened the blow a bit too.

Jacquelyn in SF said...

Merci for the tip on doing nothing...​prior to your trip. Maybe we need to implement that idea into our lives in other​ow down and really really enjoy life..? JG, SF, California​.
I think you have hit on something here that is quite valuable

Parisbreakfasts said...

funny how you come to some of your best lessons by chance and accident..

JG said...

amen...i passed this info on to several friends over the weekend, and took it to heart myself. Sometimes doing less gives us more. It is so simple, but in this day when so many of us are going 24/7 at full blast..there is no time to just BE...
merci, again, and bon journee...
this really does make so much to internalize it...whew!

Joyfulartist said...

Like you, my jet lag coming westward is worse than going east, partly because the return trip always seems to be during the day and following the sun which never sets. Even with the shades drawn it's still light outside and my body knows it! I don't plan any important events for several days after a European trip, try my best not to nap and get back on schedule as quickly as I can.