There are many good things about travelling. Jet lag is not one of them. When you have been awake (and wearing the same clothes) for 24 hours, most of that time spent on aircraft, the world does not seem like such a small place.
However, in reality we are now able to travel through many time zones in a short space of time, something we are not biologically designed to do. Our bodies seem to function best with a regular routine. This is why health gurus tell us we should get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It’s not good for us, apparently, to stay up late on a Saturday night and then sleep in on Sunday morning (but even though I know this, I’m not going to get up at 6am on weekends, thank you very much).
It’s the time zone thing that’s the killer, rather than being on an aeroplane for 12 hours or more (although that has its own side effects). We’ve just returned from Borneo (hence why the blog hasn’t been updated for a while), which is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
One of the tricks to overcoming jet lag, so I am told, is to adjust one’s watch at the earliest possible opportunity, and get used to thinking in the new time zone as soon as you can. You should stay awake until it’s bed time in the country you are now in, and fight your body’s insistence that it’s midnight in your home country and you should be in bed, no matter what the clock says. And this is, indeed, sound advice. But it doesn’t stop the fact that for two or three days after arriving in a different time zone, I lie awake for hours, watching the minutes tick by in the wee hours of the morning while my brain is insisting it’s actually the middle of the day and I shouldn’t be asleep.
Occasionally I wish that someone would invent teleporting, and we could all beam ourselves from one place to another, like they do on Star Trek. These thoughts usually come when I’m sitting at the airport at the end of my holiday, knowing it’s going to be 24 hours before I get to see my own bed again.
Teleporting might help with the travelling, but it won’t be able to do anything to make the jet lag easier to deal with. Jet lag is simply the price that has to be paid for the privilege of travel, and I accept that this is the way things must be if I want to travel. But I have to allow myself a couple of days at the end of every trip for my brain to catch up with my body.
In case you’re wondering, yes I will be blogging about my Borneo trip. Just as soon as I’ve found my brain again. I think it’s currently still somewhere in Asia…