Sleepy head

My closet talk this morning got me thinking about sleep and how important it is. Didn’t see my closet talk – here you go!

Every year at this time we talk about the time change and how it messes up our schedule so what happens when we fly to the other side of the world and end up with a 9 or 10-hour time difference?

Usually on the way out you don’t really fuss that much. You’re excited. You’re going on holiday. You’re going to explore and discover and eat wonderful food and it is all so EXCITING! Even with the big time difference you get to the other side and you can probably keep going until an early bed time without any ill effects. Sure you will wake up extra early but that’s a bonus too! You get out early and beat the crowds – see Rome, Istanbul or Athens the way the locals do.

Because we want to get the most out of our hard-earned vacation we tend to keep going day by day spurred on by adrenalin and travel euphoria – until suddenly we find ourselves at the airport waiting for our flight home. Actually, we feel quite perky, we think to ourselves. This jet lag is just a myth. We’ll get on the plane and sort through all our photos and we’ll be just fine. And we are for the most part. Flying back from Europe you probably get on a flight that departs 2 pm. It’s an 8-hour flight – and guess what? You arrive at your destination at 3 pm. But your body thinks its 10 pm. By the time you get out of the airport you are starting to flag but you know if you go to bed when you get home you will just be up at 3 am. So you struggle on until you just cannot do it any more.

Now you are either overtired so you can’t sleep properly or else you fall asleep on the couch watching the 5 o’clock news. Either way you can guarantee that you WILL be awake in the early hours of the morning. Yes, jet lag sucks. They say it takes one day for each hour of time difference.

I have been told by some of my clients that they take a hefty dose of sleeping tablets on the plane to cope with the jet lag so that they can get back to bed at home around 11 pm and work through the jet lag a bit quicker. I did hear a story years back which still makes me laugh. A friend of a friend was flying overseas so as soon as they checked in and boarded their flight she took her sleeping pill. The flight hadn’t taken off yet and she was gone! But guess what? The plane had a mechanical malfunction and they had to disembark all the passengers. Well, as I said, she was gone. Could not be woken up and had to be taken off by stretcher. OMG, can you imagine? I would have been so embarrassed.

But sleeping on your trip can be awkward. Maybe you snore! Or drool? Have you ever fallen asleep at the airport while waiting for your flight to be called? That is my worse nightmare. Surely someone would come and wake you up. You would think. I really think the best way to get home from a trip to Europe would be the good old fashioned way – by boat! You wouldn’t notice the jet lag then. Just don’t go on the maiden voyage.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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