Monday, March 17, 2014

The Joys of Jet Lag (And How to Get Back on Track)

As a frequent traveler who makes it a point to cross the Atlantic ocean at least twice a year, I'd like to think that I've become a pro at handling the extreme changes of adapting suddenly to a new time zone.

Granted, the six-hour change from French time to the American Eastern Standard Time isn't that drastic of an alteration, but it certainly provides enough inconvenience to perturb sleeping and eating patterns. On that note: I've found that even a minor one-hour change from France to the British Isles created some disgruntled moments as I debated whether or not to wait eating breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at a later time.

Here are some tips.


Did you leave at ten in the morning, take a ten hour flight, and suddenly found yourself at having lunch at two in the afternoon when your body was convinced that it was 8 p.m.? It may prove difficult, but forcing your body to remain alert is the quickest way to getting into your new time zone's groove. Generally wait until it is night time before catching some Zs. Supply extra shots of espresso when needed.

And, if anything, think yourself a time-traveler whose mission it was to go back six hours in the past to relay an important message. Remaining awake is vital to this operation!

2) Have enough time to adapt. 

I can only speak from my experience, but I generally have required two to four days of adjustment before obtaining a sense of normalcy, regardless on which side of the Atlantic I'm in.

3) Be busy.

Planning to visit some friends and family back home? Make an appointment for 10 a.m. sharp on the day after you arrive. Make dinner plans to be on the safe side.


I cannot stress how much you and caffeine will become BBFs in these crucial days. Oh, you don't like coffee? Fine. Get yourself some potent English tea or a nauseatingly-saccharine energy drink.

I've usually had no trouble adapting if I applied these tactics. However, I had not anticipated how much my body would be thrown off by the effort of flying to the United States, adapting within four days, only to then face the change in Daylight Saving time (thereby subtracting one hour), ONLY to then return to France within a period of ten days.

The weekend simply wasn't enough time for me to return to normal, which explained why I found myself cooking steak well past midnight (for my stomach said it was dinner time). My students also have the joy of having an escaped Zombie extra from The Walking Dead for a teacher. I am completely drained and plagued by a constant headache.

And sleep? Forget that! I mistakenly took a nap at six p.m. Now, I am perky and alert.

It is now 4:46 a.m. French time. No use in going back to sleep because I work within a few hours. Maybe I'll update this post with some cartoons later in the week.

*This post has been brought to you by jet lag.* 

Barb the French Bean


  1. And, if anything, think yourself a time-traveler whose mission it was to go back six hours in the past to relay an important message.

    This is how I live my life on a daily basis, but this may also be because I just watch too much Doctor Who.

    Really, though, great advice. You had me at "coffee." Make mine a double shot of Cuban, extra heart palpitations please.

  2. good tips. I agree about the coffee. I dont travel much but I think fixing a sleeping schedule is similar. I just stay awake extra long till back on a day time schedule rather than a night owl.

  3. I have jet lag and I haven't even gone anyplace.


  4. I go nowhere. Ever. But I'm drinking caffeine right now in preparation of possible future travel across time zones.


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