I generally feel OK again after a nights sleep, but it can take a few days to a week for me to go to sleep and wake up at fairly normal hours again. When I have jet lag, I do things like go to sleep at 4AM and then get up at midday.
How soon my jet lag goes away depends on how much rest I can get. On my recent trip, to SE Asia it took more than a week to go away, because of little rest and a lot of night busses. On my third day there, a women working at the guesthouse I was staying in told me I should sleep during the night and do my night time activitites during the day. The coment made me feel as if she thinks I get out of my coffin at night to engage in my night time activities and then get back in it at dawn. I dont think she has experienced the effect crossing 7 time zones in one day has on ones body clock. 😊
Mine usually lasts at least a week, sometimes up to two weeks. I think long transport and bad airplane food adds at least a couple of days.
The first time I flew out to Vietnam, I was more or less comatose for 2 days afterwards. Being a cheap skate I did it over 3 sectors which probably didn't contribute towards helping my internal clock to reset itself. When I flew back from Blighty in 2009 after a trip to visit friends and family, I hardly suffered at all, possibly being as I took a direct flight from Stansted to KL and then hopped straight onto a flight to HCMC.
I have a feeling that how you feel physically, mentally and psychologically before a trip, may possibly make you more or less susceptible to jet lag. The stresses of packing, getting everything organised and finally making the journey all take their toll. I feel that because my trip back to Vietnam after my 2009 visit was a relatively stress free, routine flight, this possibly contributed significantly towards me not suffering anywhere near as much as I did the first time.
I get jetlag both ways. After the Vietnam to UK leg, I feel unbelievably tired at 9pm. If I can stay awake through it, it stops. This lasts about 5 days. On the way back, I can't sleep until the early hours of the morning. This again, lasts about 5 days.
Changing the timings of when I sleep won't work as when we get here, it's to work - which means up at 6am. Not great when you didn't get to sleep until 3am.
Usually 7 days to feel normal again. I generally feel better if we return to a low carb diet. We hate the general sluggishness but we're not going to stop traveling.
We normally get up at 5am for work so it is irritating to wake up at 2am or 3am.
Depending on the direction of travel and how many time zones I shift (I count a time zone as an hour of difference). If it is equal to or more than four times zones heading west, it only takes me a day. Anything less than four time zones and it have no effect at all.
Heading east is more of a problem. Usually about a week for any travel that crosses more than two time zones.
The other factor are the dreaded overnight flights which always extend my jet lag, thus I avoid them totally.
Finally, anything more than 12 hours of flying in the one journey causes me to be very weary the following day even if the time zone only changes by an hour.
All of this is the reason I usually stop in Singapore for a couple of days on any return from Middle East and Africa - it is only two hours difference from Brisbane time, and staying there really softens the change once I arrive back in Australia.
Normally day 2 kills me but i find i only ever get it coming back to Australia...heading on a trip i think there is too much adrenaline and i'm excited to be going there so can get up and going really easily. I also sleep really well on planes or in airports so grap sleep wherever i can to try and get over onto the other timezone.
In response to: Msg #145417
Actually, that is a good point re the adrenalin. It is probably why most of my journeys out of Australia (when I head west) are easier to adjust to. However, even with adrenalin, I still do find the west journeys easier. When travelling eastwards whilst still travelling it still takes a bit longer to get over the jet lag, but now I think of it, not as long as when I return to Australia.
[Edited: 2011 Oct 17 20:21 - The Travel Camel:11053 ]
In response to: Msg #145428
hey shane, yes i find the direction doesnt seem to bother me too much so whether i head 24 hours flying west to europe or 24 hours east flying to the US it is always the journey back to Aust that really takes it out of me for a few days at the other end. Espcially as i always try to go back to work on day 2 and my brain is soooo not functioning. But i do agree with you on the layover in singapore or somewhere nice and relaxing like langkowi or koh sumai where you can rest in a nice tropical heat on your own timezone and getting over jetlag is just not soo bad 😊)
In response to: Msg #145456
Wow, I envy your ability to travel for so long from Australia with no jet lag. Excellent stamina!
I usually return to work the day after arriving back in Australia, it usually does work, but my previous trip earlier this year I arrived on a Monday, back at work on a Tuesday, but then needed to take the Wednesday off - it was too much of a shock to return to normality so fast!
[Edited: 2011 Oct 18 12:18 - The Travel Camel:11053 ]
When I went to Australasia for a week - it took about 4 days each direction. What was bad when I got back is that I have always had my dogs as my alarm. They are hungry in the morning and wake me up to be fed. Well they were being fed in the evening by the person that was watching them and so they were jet lagged as well and I was late for work because they were jet lagged. LOL
Usually about 2 days, but really depends how much I can sleep on the plane. If it's a red-eye and I get a few good hours of sleep, I can generally be back to normal in a day. Generally...
I find if I travel west it only takes me a day or two to get back to normal. I set an alarm to wake up early and after a night or two of not being able to sleep I crash, fall asleep for 10+ hours then I'm back to normal.
When I travel east I'm messed up for upto two weeks and as I suffer from insomnia sporadically anyway I find it usually triggers it off for a few weeks/months.
I agree that it does seem to go a bit easier heading west than east.
On our trip to Morocco we took melatonin and our jet lag was milder than usual.
Give the melatonin a try.
In response to: Msg #143484
I find that if I force myself to stay on local time and stay awake during the first day I acclimate a lot more easily. As long as I can get full nights I'm usually not too bad.
Everyone and their brother will tell you to force yourself to stay awake that first day. We have the hardest time doing that so we usually go take a hot shower to get the travel funk off and take a nap. Usually just and hour or so and we feel much better.
We then have a nice dinner and go to bed at a reasonable time but earlier than usual. The next day we feel good.
I usually need 2-3 days to change time zone (if the difference is more than 7 hours ) and about a week for acclimatization