I don’t think I truly knew what jetlag was until I travelled 36 hours from Christchurch, New Zealand to Athlone, Ireland. Jetlag is a bitch.
I’ve heard plenty of people complain about jetlag before, how difficult it is and what a nightmare it is to overcome. I’ve flown New Zealand to New York City before though, and New York is basically the next stop past Ireland across the Atlantic. When I travelled there, I remember a sleep-in the day after arriving and then lying awake a little longer than normal at night, and that’s about it. Although I knew the time difference was more drastic this time, I didn’t think it would be much worse in terms of jetlag. I was wrong.
On Saturday, we arrived at 1.30am and after catching up with Joanie; hit the hay an hour later. I figured we would sleep till 10am (I’m usually up no later than 8), maybe 11 – at a stretch 12. 3pm rolls around and we’ve wasted much of day one in Athlone. We went for a walk around town and made the most of our afternoon. It helped that the sun doesn’t set until 10pm – or did it? In terms of making the most of our day it was awesome. In terms of correcting our sleep patterns – let’s just say that was the first of a few 1am and 2am bedtimes.
Throughout the week I relied on afternoon naps to keep me going. Although this may sound like I chose to nap, I really didn’t – the naps chose me. On a couple of occasions I could not keep my eyes open. Naps are all well and good but they don’t help with getting to bed on time later on. I started the week with a grand plan to stay awake and go to sleep on Irish time right from the point we left Christchurch, New Zealand. I thought 36 hours plus a day, maybe 2 in Ireland would set me right. Ah naivety.
So what did I think jetlag was? I knew I would have to get used to backwards sleeping/waking hours. I thought it would mean a few sleep ins. I thought it would mean that when we got off the plane Courtney would be grumpy as all hell and I would be tired but dealing with it. Instead, the bastard was absolutely fine. Sure he slept till 3pm with me on the first day, but I don’t think he had a single nap and he was falling asleep on the couch each night as I was still surfing between Sex and the City and Two and a Half Men.
I’m extremely grateful that we started our trip as we did – in a small town, at a friend’s house, being spoilt and sleeping in our own room, in our own bed. The plan may not have been made with that in mind, but what a plan it turned out to be. I’m also grateful I don’t have a job to go back to in September. Soul Buddy will be almost home from her own trip to the UK as I type this and I hope she coped better than I did, because she does have a job to get back to.
I don’t know if there’s really a great way to combat jetlag other than just ride it out. If I could have stayed awake on the plane I would have. Do the jetlag pills work? Any natural remedies? September is a long way off for now, but I’ll give anything a go when I get there – what worked for you?