I’m an end justifies the means flyer. Unlike my travel companions who relish in the rarified air of the wild blue yonder, I view flying as a necessity more than a pleasure. A way to get from point A to point B. Maybe it’s because of the delays and layovers or maybe it’s because of my seat assignments (my seat guru always seems to be slightly off). Then there’s the jet lag. The 9 hour+ trip to Milano always results in a major upset in my diurnal rhythm resulting in lack of alertness, poor sleep, irritability and stress. Not the way I want to hit the Via Montenapoleone.
I travel for business and pleasure and often don’t have the luxury of the “1 day of recovery needed for every one to two time zones crossed” theory for my circadian rhythms to adjust. So over the years I have searched and researched strategies that take the lag out of flying and help re-align my internal clock. You’ve probably read about, heard or tried most of the conventional wisdom on avoiding jet-lag. Adjusting your sleep patterns before departure, light therapy, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, vitamins, acupuncture, turning your watch to the time of destination as soon as you get on the plane and various other sleep aids, all claiming to cure jet lag. There are hundreds of anecdotal and scientific studies on the causes and cures for jet lag including the Argonne Lab Anti-Jet Lag Program. Developed by Dr. Charles F. Ehret, a biologist at the University of Chicago’s Argonne National Laboratory, the program uses a series of planned foods (proteins and carbohydrates) to re-set nature’s internal clock to help your body adjust to a new time zone. Sometimes referred to as the Feast or Famine Diet, the basic program alternates “feast” and “fast” days before travelling.
All and all the general consensus on minimizing jet lag is to avoid overstimulation and when the cabin lights dim – sleep. Enter the turkey. If you really want to sleep, eat turkey. Think about how content, relaxed and sleepy you feel after that big Thanksgiving dinner. There’s a reason for this. Turkey is high in the amino acid L-tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep aid. Eating turkey, can help you get a great night’s sleep right before you depart or leave you tired enough to rest on the plane. I always eat turkey the night before I leave and take a couple of turkey sandwiches to eat pre-flight and on the plane. This year I’m thinking about downloading my i-Pad with a few football games and making sure to bring a 3 oz. vial of essential oil of pumpkin pie along just for good measure.