How not to let traveling through time-zones get you down
Traveling to new places, as exciting as it might sound in the guide book is often fraught with difficulties which can turn a postcard pretty experience to a dreary one where the only mantra one can come up with is « why did I ever leave home? ».
Of the many things that can go wrong and which are completely out of one’s control besides dreadful weather, is jet-lag. Now, it has been clearly documented that this woeful condition when the night owl morphs into the early bird on steroids, is worse when one is traveling eastward. At any rate, wherever you are coming from, some jet-lag is inevitable. This being said, there are ways to embrace your foe, so to speak, or at any rate to lessen its potential to ruin your trip. After all, if you are coming for a short visit you cannot afford to waste a week getting your system used to one time-zone, only to have to go through the whole rigmarole a few days later when you return home.
Here are some simple ideas to lessen jet-lag’s damage
In flight, make an effort to slow down your internal clock in anticipation for the time-zone towards which you are traveling. Set your watch to the country where you are headed. Bring an eye mask, some relaxing music to listen to, a hooded sweat shirt. Even sun glasses are not just for celebrities. Less sunlight or artificial light will send the message to your brain to close up shop. Resist the urge to watch movies during the whole flight, your system needs down-time in order to adapt to the new time zone.
If you arrive during the day and a quick nap is not an option, let daylight do its natural work to reset your biological rhythm. Get out, get moving. Privilege energetic things to do instead of sitting in a tour bus where you will inevitably nod off. Walk up the steps of the Arc de Triomphe or Montmartre and revel in the thrill of the view of Paris below.
On your first night avoid time on your smart phone or computer screen before bed, the blue light they emit prevents your body from producing melatonin, the natural hormone in your body which helps regulate your sleep/wake circadian rhythm.
If all else fails and you are counting whole herds of sheep while sleep evades you completely, try these fun things to do in Paris in the wee hours of the night/morning: Watch the sunrise at the Jardins de Trocadéro in the 16th arrondissement , the view is splendid and you’ll be able to enjoy the sight without the crowds. For acute cases of the munchies, you can count on Snack Time, 97 Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th arrondissement, they open as early as 7 am until 2 am on week days and from 5 am to 2 am on Saturdays and Sundays.
Or go for a walk in an open air market which set up quite early: La bastille, for example: open Thursday and Sundays from 7am to 2pm or rue Cler near the Eiffel tower in the 7th arrondissement, which doesn’t get going until a bit later but the picturesque , Café du Marché, 38 rue Cler is open every day from 7am to 1pm.
You might even feel so invigorated after your early morning trek that you will stop dreading jet-lag and even come to welcome it the next time around!