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Your worst jetlag experience?

Your worst jetlag experience?


Old Mar 11, 15, 1:06 pm
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
Five or six hours is not a small time change. It's fully 50% of the maximum possible.
50%? There are 24 full timezones (360/15)...

You're very lucky, and rare, if you can really adjust that quickly.
I don't think that I am. I work in an industry known for ever-changing work hours and heavy travel. It just takes some training.
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Old Mar 11, 15, 1:11 pm
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Location: Sao Paulo via Houston via Washington D.C via Boston via New York
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IAH-FRA (12 hour layover)-BKK stayed up the entire flights as it was my first time in C and slept for 15 hours when I got to the hotel
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Old Mar 11, 15, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by brendog View Post
50%? There are 24 full timezones (360/15)...
True, but moving from one to another can't displace you more than twelve hours in one direction or the other. A six-hour change is half of that, 50% of the maximum possible.

I wish I was one of those people who adjust so easily. It always takes me a couple of days to recover even from the one-hour change to daylight saving time, and two or three days from the three-hour change from Eastern to Pacific time in the US. On the other hand I managed to function reasonably well after making the plus-thirteen-hour (i.e., minus 11) change from Ohio to Tokyo. I was only on my own from the airport to the hotel where my friends picked me up, though. From then on, all our many trips on public transportation were in their seasoned hands. I'm sure I'll have had to exert myself considerably to navigate the Tokyo subway if I manage to get back there, now that my friends have moved back to Ohio.

Psychological studies and accident statistics indicate that average people take quite a while to adjust to time changes. We all like to feel that we're above average. I'm perfectly willing to concede that, in this area anyway, I'm pretty normal.

I'm dubious that training can really alleviate jet lag. I'm sure people can train themselves to compensate so as to minimize the risks from fatigue, and that there are strategies that will at least modestly improve the adjustment. (Being aware that you're fatigued and more prone to make errors is a good start.)
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Old Mar 12, 15, 8:02 am
Join Date: Nov 2009
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For me, it's always the length of time I spend in the other timezone. In 2012, I made 2 west coast USA trips (from Ireland). The first one, for about 5 days, a couple days to adjust over there (early night, early morning), but no problem coming back. The second trip though, I was over there for 4 weeks, and that wrecked me on my return. Jetlag evolved into full on insomnia (going to sleep at 11pm, wide awake at midnight) for about a week until I got prescribed something.

Since then, all my plans for travel abroad, I'm limiting to 2-3 weeks. If the 3 weeks proves as problematic as 4 was, I'll scale back even further.
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Old Mar 18, 15, 8:35 pm
Join Date: Mar 2015
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TL;DR slept for 18 hours.
Was going SEA-LHR for routine business in our London office on Sunday evening, boss called me Friday night saying might need me in Austria but would let me know before he left Sunday mid-day. Get to LHR without hearing from him and as the doors of the Heathrow Express are closing my UK cell rings, of course it's my boss saying I need to get to Austria that day. Take cab to office to call travel agent and grab some food before heading back to Heathrow, connecting through FRA. Spent week in Austria and one night at dinner with the firm we were analyzing I started to fall asleep, like Pavlov's dog I only respond to my boss' voice. Got back to London on Saturday and slept from 22:00 to 16:00, woke up to grab some food then was back asleep around 21:00.
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Old Mar 18, 15, 10:58 pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Jetlag doesn't impact me too badly. Either TPAC or TATL, I aim for flights that land in the afternoon and just stay up until it's dark. Generally I'll be up between 3 and 5 the next morning. If my hotel has a 24-hour gym I'll go for a workout.

Other than eastbound TATL, I try to keep sleep to a minimum in-flight. Maybe a nap on TPAC flights in either direction given their length.
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Old Mar 19, 15, 9:44 am
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I don't usually have major jetlag issues and when arriving in SYD, FRA, or somewhere with a major time change I look for the nearest espresso machine that will keep me up all day. I will second the idea though that for some reason South America can get the best of you.

On a post-graduation South American adventure a few years ago a friend and I took advantage of United's stopover rules. Our itin ended up being PHX-IAH-EZE-MVD-GIG-GRU-PTY-TGU-IAH-PHX all in Y. While the time change was minimal, less than 4 hours, the red eyes, long flights, and change from summer daylight (it was June) in Phoenix to short cold winter days in Argentina really messed us up. It was a great trip but the entire thing was a blur.
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Old Nov 13, 18, 11:34 am
Join Date: Nov 2018
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Thank you!

Oh how reassuring to read your tales of misery as I lie here at 2am feeling like the pits 6 days after flying London to Perth. I feel appalling and was beginning to Google possible medical causes. I fly Zimbabwe to Perth most years but always attributed my symptoms to exhaustion from the work I do there. It takes me a week to recover. I always put my watch on to the time at my destination as soon as I get on the plane and I usually manage about 5 hours of sleep. I had not realized how real jet lag is and how bad it could be so reading your experiences has been very reassuring. This time it was 19 hours plane travel plus a 5 hour car drive to get home. I'm a good sleeper but have had 2 nights with no sleep and the others very restless. I keep hoping I'll get up feeling normal and instead it's another useless day. I'll just hang in there - someone on here wasn't right for 3 weeks. Eek! Please no! I have never had much effect flying the other direction, east to west.

Last edited by Louise Furniss; Nov 13, 18 at 11:37 am Reason: add more
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Old Nov 13, 18, 11:54 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk Louise Furniss
Hope you are feeing better. Glad you found reassurance from fellow travelers that you are not alone
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Old Nov 13, 18, 1:37 pm
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Coming back from New Zealand to the UK. I had a bad night's sleep the first night, but the second night slept soundly. Woke up at 6 o'clock and as I didn't feel the slightest bit tired, went out for a walk to pass the time until it was time to go to work. Funny thing was, I found that instead of it getting lighter, it was getting darker...
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Old Nov 13, 18, 1:58 pm
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Worst Jet Lag experience: Years ago, flying HNL-SFO-CDG, two overnight flights, with last leg in International F. Decided to try a new routine to prevent jet lag by systematically taking melatonin as prescribed intervals and dosages. Became a zombie in Paris for the first few days. Terrible, terrible symptoms unlike I never had before or after. Needless to say, melatonin was never again used.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 10:31 pm
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Despite going from Moscow to the Far East fairly regularly where time differences are up to 8 hours (at least in my experience, I know there is 9 in the furthest reaches but I haven't been there), I don't seem to suffer too much, but going eastbound from New York ALWAYS screws me up for a week. Twice to London and once to Moscow and all 3 times I've felt absolutely rotten. Never quite worked out why it's only from there...
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Old Nov 17, 18, 7:01 am
Join Date: Aug 2002
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I did a lot of stupid things at the same time a few years ago and it really caught up with me.

Scheduled to leave DEL to fly to London sometime around midnight. Ran a teleconference just before checking out of the hotel. Flew to London- in Business Class (thank you, former employer) but didn't sleep much. Took the Tube into London since I wasn't in any hurry. Several station changes later, I got to the whisky shop that sells extraordinary scotch you can't buy in the US (The Tasting Room, for those of you who are curious). Bought 4 bottles, added them to my load of baggage, took the Tube to my hotel. If you know the London Underground, there are plenty of places with steps and no escalator, and I had one of the big suitcases I rarely take since I was dressing for business and two different climates. Picture me dragging it all up and down steps- multiple times.

The next morning, Sunday, I picked up the Times and some breakfast and got on the Tube again, planning some sightseeing. I realized I felt so crappy that if I didn't sit down I was going to faint. I found a seat, got out at the next stop, dragged myself over to the other side of the platform and returned to my hotel, where I spent the rest of the day with a migraine. The next morning I went into the office and was just fine- but I'd really overdone it the day before and my body came to a screeching halt.

Lesson learned: if I can afford to spend $300 on whisky in one clip I can afford a classic London black cab. The next time I made that trip I took the HEX in, left my bags at a nearby Marriott (had gotten their agreement beforehand), made my whisky purchases, did some sightseeing, went back to the Marriott and left them a generous tip and took a cab to my hotel. Ah. Much better.
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