Some real talk here, with anyone who’s had to deal with significant time changes after international flights. There isn’t really a cure for that thing we call jetlag, but here are some tips to help you recover from messing up your body’s clock so royally…
- Drink lots of water. The temptation is to avoid drinking water so you don’t have to use icky airport or airplane facilities. But the climate on airplanes is naturally very dry, and your body needs water to cope. Drink what you can, bring chapstick, and stay away from salty snacks. On that note: coffee and alcohol are dehydrating liquids, not hydrating ones. Stick with the water, people.
- Sleep on the plane. Nobody really wants to catch their Z’s in an uncomfortable airplane seat, but if you fall asleep on day 1 and wake up on day 2 then you are more inclined to feel like you’ve had a good eight hours. Even though, in reality, you only got four.
- Jump into the new time zone. Eat lunch at lunchtime, dinner at dinnertime, and try to go to sleep when you would normally go to sleep at home. Sure, you might be wide awake at 2am for a solid hour, but the firmer you stick to the new schedule, the sooner you adapt.
- Find the sun. This, we couldn’t manage in Scotland due to travel restrictions and cloud cover, but if you can sync your body back with nature you’ll be better off. Get out in the daylight when there’s daylight and turn the lights out when the sun goes down.
- Find a haven. Your first day in a new country will probably be a little disorienting, so try to find someplace safe, calm, and catered to recover. If you have a kindly woman directing you to the nearest place to eat, offering you anything you need for your room, and knowing that you’re in a safe little suburb of a big city… you’ll recover from jet lag faster.
That being said, here’s how the first leg of my Scotland trip went.
My parents and I spent nearly 24 straight hours traveling. We left the Denver Airport at 7pm or so, landed in Heathrow the next day, and had to hop onto a connecting flight up to Edinburgh that afternoon. I had arranged for a taxi to meet us (expensive, but it was nice to not worry about making our phones or brains work the second we landed in order to arrange transportation); our driver took us to a nice little place called “Briarly House”. It was a 19th-century house which had been refitted into two different apartments before the current owner purchased it and restored it to a Bed & Breakfast.
The View from our room in Briarly House
Morag, yes, Morag met us at the door and welcomed us to Scotland. We came to Scotland to experience Scotland, and so were slightly disappointed when our taxi driver was from Poland. Not Morag, no, sir, she was Scottish to the bone. She showed us to our room, and once we dropped our bags, we felt collected enough to walk about and find food.
We had some of the most delicious sweet potato fries I have ever eaten in my life, and, ya know, other stuff, at an eclectic sort of joint. We walked back to Briarly House, marveling at the cobblestones, damp air, angry busses, and Scottishness of it all. We took showers. We tried to fall asleep 7 hours off when our bodies were expecting.