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Jet lag?

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Don’t you sometimes wonder, as you deplane from your Halifax-Vancouver flight, whether it’s the Valium and wine you sucked down causing that disorientation or whether you can rightfully blame jet lag? I know I do.

The first rule is: you can’t blame jet lag if you’ve flown from Winnipeg to Dallas – it doesn’t work north to south. But in the previous example, you’ve travelled backwards in time, and your internal clock is wrong. We are slaves to our internal clocks – your best bet in this situation is to try to reset the time by getting out in the early morning sun, despite the pain coursing through your head. If you’ve flown west to east, you should get the late afternoon light to re-establish your body’s time.

Here are some questions for you to ponder:

Can you blame jet lag for your sinus congestion post flight? (No, blame the stale plane air.)

Can you blame jet lag for your dehydration? (No, you have to blame your alcoholism and the plane air.)

Is the jet lag giving you disrupted sleep, poor judgment and apathy? (Yes, probably.)

Do teenagers and hipsters have permanent jet lag? (I’ll let you consider that one.)

As with many things, prevention is the best cure. You should try to be well rested before your journey. Drink water instead of alcohol and caffeine while on board. There is some evidence that taking melatonin (one of the body’s natural sleep chemicals, which you can buy from a health food store) at bedtime before and after arrival can regulate your sleep cycle.

And don’t make any life-changing decisions while you are ruled by the flight hangover and its resulting apathy and poor judgment. Save the tattoo and engagement for a few days into the trip.


Dr. Kate Greenaway