Jet Lag & Flying: A Practical Guide

So just recently I made the move form the UK in the Northern Hemisphere to Auckland in the Southern Hemisphere. Now apart from the burning questions: How do I get my guitars there (answered in this post); and will my guitars survive the trip? The biggest thing that worried me was: How bad is the jet lag going to be? This personal post details what I did. And quite simply why it worked. But be warned I am but a mere mortal who plucks strings, not a Doctor.

So if you have ever contemplated moving hemispheres one of the first things you ask; is how bad will the jet lag be? I moved in December, when as rotten luck would have it, Britain was in Daylight Saving mode (-1 hr) and Auckland was in daylight saving mode (+1). So with those added in there was a 13 hour time difference between the two cities, and not a good 13 hours either. When the UK was at the midnight hour Auckland was 13:00. Not even close to ideal. Added to this direst of circumstance the cheapest route to fly there is East. Now I did a ton of internet research and practically every site screamed at me – DON’T FLY EAST!! Why? Well apparently it really messes you up from a jet lag P.O.V. Just click on this link from Gizmodo to see why. So naturally I panicked and researched some more; considered melatonin tablets or the worse case scenario flying via the USA and dealing with their new security issues. In the end we (and by we I mean myself, two little children and my sexy Rock chick partner) manned up and settled on going East. I figured I would need the required ten days to recover. I didn’t! Just two! How?

Airbus a380

Simple. On the last and longest stretch, from Dubai to Melbourne, I set my watch to Auckland time. In the air I then slept, or at least tried to, when Auckland did. This meant catching catnaps from Midnight to 6am when Emirates Airlines served breakfast. We landed mid afternoon in NZ and managed to stay up until 19:30 before going to bed. We then slept through until about 05:30 the next morning. And that was the only really symptom of the flying, I kept waking up at 5am most mornings for the first few days.

Seek Light! The other bit of advice I gleaned from my frantic searches was find the light early in the morning. And almost like a person being reborn that is what I did every morning. It helps that it was summer here and so the light is strong. I also had blinds on the windows, not curtains, and so the light filtered through as it rose every morning. Thus waking me up effectively and naturally.

So flying East can be done, and even across nearly 13 time zones if you follow two simple bits of advice.

  • First: set your watch to the destination time ASAP.
  • Second: seek light and awake with the sun each morning!

Considering we flew with two little children, only one got nailed with the Jet Lag, and that is purely because he wanted to watch Star Wars on the way over and would not go to sleep when I told to. Children! My 3 year old child did, and didn’t suffer any effects! Just goes to show!

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