Adjusting to a different time zone can be difficult, especially when traveling from one side of the world to another. I have tried several methods only to find myself falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon and waking up at 3 AM, or walking around in a fog for the first 2 to 3 days of my vacation due to complete exhaustion. As a result, I have found the following to be the least painful in adjusting to the change:
- Book an overnight flight. This way, you can tell yourself that it is time to go to sleep when nightfall arrives.
- Sit in a window seat near the front of the plane. Although many people prefer aisle seats for perceivably more room and ease, the seat nearest the window gives you control over the window shade and protects you from interruptions when those sitting next to you need to get up. Seats nearer the front of the plane are generally quieter, farther from the engine and the gathering spot around the rear restroom.
- Avoid caffeine. The point here is to sleep!
- Get comfortable. This is one place where it is acceptable etiquette to take your shoes off (leave the socks on or bring a pair to slip on). Cover up with the airplane blanket and snuggle in with the pillow.
- Use ear plugs. They do an amazing job of blocking out cabin noise.
- Reset your watch with the new time zone when you board the plane. This is a good way to "trick" your brain into thinking you are already on the new schedule.
- Open your window shade upon arrival. Daylight will help your internal clock adjust.
- If you arrive first thing in the morning, eat breakfast. Drop off your bags at the hotel, wash your face, change clothes, and set out for the day. Do not retire to your hotel room until you would on any other day.
- Push through the first day. It will be hard, but whatever you do, do not fall prey to a "quick" nap -- you will find yourself in a deep sleep and wide awake in the middle of the night. By following the local time zone from the get-go, you will find yourself waking at a normal time the next morning ready to embrace the day.