It usually takes me about a day to get over jet lag when I’m away on vacation. With persistence to get the most out of my days away, I try to sleep as much as I can on the plane, eat at the correct times and get up early in the morning each day’even if I was out late the night before.
When I return home, that’s a whole other story.
I’m often tired and yawning during my morning commute. When lunchtime rolls around, I likely have already eaten at my desk. And I’m usually in bed by 8. Whether I’ve come back from Europe or Asia, the story’s the same. It takes me about a week to get back into the swing of things.
According to tips from Brigham & Women’s Hospital sleep researcher Dennis A. Dean in his one-minute video Jet Lag and How to Mitigate its Effects, I do the right things while on my trips (switching my gears into a new schedule), but not so much when I come home. I give in to my fatigue, hunger and general grumpiness. He says to eat at the proper times and if you need to take a nap, make it short. For my next trip (October is coming fast!) I’ll have to return home with the same mindset from my holidays.
Dean suggests that light is to blame for jet lag in his recent study (so I don’t have to blame myself!).
"By knowing when to seek and avoid bright light one can facilitate adaptation to the new time zone," he says to Best Health. "When traveling eastward (like Vancouver to Toronto, for example), you want to avoid bright light in the early morning and seek bright light in the evening. The opposite is true when traveling westward (Like Montreal to Edmonton). Sounds simple; but that’s what works for human biology."