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wayne, pa
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68 posts
12 reviews
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does anyone have any tips to help with jetlag? I realize sleeping on the flight would be wonderful, but it has never happened for me. Am considering a tylenol PM - any thoughts, all you travelers out there?

Great Barrington...
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1. Re: jetlag

From my travel guide:

Jet Lag

When you consider:

• Most flights from the U.S. to Paris are overnight flights

• For a good portion of the year, there is at least a 6 hour time difference between the U.S. and Paris. For instance, if it is 8 a.m. in Paris, it is 2 a.m. in New York.

• Today’s air travel environment is exhausting, stressful, and uncomfortable.

This all adds up to a serious case of jet lag for some travelers.

I have an acquaintance who is an international flight attendant, and this is her advice to assuage jet lag:

• Sleep in your own comfortable bed as late as you can until you need to leave for the airport.

• Take a nap of about an hour or two on the plane.

• When you arrive in Paris, grab something to eat, go to your hotel and try to nap again for a couple of hours.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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83,086 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: jetlag

It's 23 hours in a plane from Australia to Europe, and the time difference is 10 hours!

People vary greatly in how they can cope with this. I am able to doze for most of the time in the plane, and am fit to get in a car and drive off when I get to Paris. My wife cannot sleep at all, and would be a major danger.

Williamsburg, Va
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220 posts
12 reviews
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3. Re: jetlag

I drink no alcohol or caffeine on the plane and try to sleep as much as I can, which is usually very little. Upon arrival, I try to do low key sightseeing, mostly outdoors. Nothing too strenuous, but I like to keep moving. I usually get a second wind later in the day, but by 9 or 10 in the evening I am exhausted. By the next day, however, I am adjusted to the time change.

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422 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: jetlag

I took some Tylenol PM right after dinner during our flight. It worked like a charm. I slept for most of the trip to CDG waking up just in time for breakfast. When we arrived in Paris, we checked into the hotel and went out for a leisurely day of touring. We had an early dinner and went to bed at a normal sleep hour to wake up in the morning ready for our next day. I actually found the jet lag worse on our return home.

Kamloops, BC...
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9,743 posts
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5. Re: jetlag

Hi -

I'm not as lucky as sidneynick - it's easier for me when we depart from our home in the eastern US - the time difference is only 5 or 6 hours, depending on the destination. I find it much more difficult when we depart from YVR (Vancouver) on the west coast. The trip is usually 8 or 9 hours or so, and so is the time difference. I fly into AMS Schipol, never into CDG.

Schipol is a very civilized airport, with a very civilized staff who actually know their way around their airport, and are willing to share the information in a pleasant and courteous way.

The building is well signed, but after a night without sleep, the signs sometimes don't make sense to me. The Schipol staff resist the temptation to point out the signs in a less than pleasant fashion. I appreciate that.

I take the train into the city, purchase tickets on the main arrivals level, €4 or so, station directly below, stairs 10 or 15 yards away. There is an elevator, but I've never used it.

I usually stay somewhere not too far from Centraal Station and Dam Square, so the cab fare from the station isn't exorbitant. I've learned not to get involved with one way streets when choosing my hotel because it's too difficult for the taxi driver to keep the fare down, and they inevitably end up apologizing and turning off the meter early, which means that I end up apologizing and overtipping.

I drop my bags off at the hotel for safekeeping, and get out into the fresh air. I always explore the neighbourhood so I know which businesses have moved, which shops are still there, the hours of the restaurants/cafes/bars and their menus, whether there are any new red lights in the area (or fewer, for that matter), and where to buy flowers for my room.

I know many folks think it's silly, but I always have fresh flowers in my hotel room, and I can't be the only one, because I've never stayed anywhere in any country that didn't have a vase for me when I walked in the door with them.

I walk until I have a good appetite for lunch, find a place that calls my name, and enjoy whatever it is they put in front of me.

I always tell the server that I was on an overnight flight and can't think very well, the only thing I won't eat is liver and game, so please feed me what you think is a good thing today. I order some red wine, and I've never been disappointed with the server's choice. By then it's check in time at the hotel, and I go back and have a nap for 2 hours.

After that, since it's always easier to keep moving if a have a reason to be out, it's a quick trip to walk around the shopping streets, the ones that are for pedestrians, only. I'm not stupid, I know that 2 hours is not enough sleep to make me alert enough to deal with traffic, so I go there and purchase my post cards and stamps, and perhaps some take homes. I usually take home small things from each city of my trip for family and close friends, hence the name.

One of my favourite things is refrigerator magnets. They're small and easy to pack, and people often find them useful. The children I buy for love them, and I can afford them in most places. The youngsters particularly like the china "wooden shoes", and don't mind if they end up with two the same - so AMS is easy peasy.

By now it's dinner time, and after a shower and some fresh clothes, I go to someplace near the hotel for dinner. It's not unusual for me to switch to beer for dinner. I'm often still very thirsty from the flight and the Dutch do beer very well.

After dinner, back to the hotel, check what channels are on the TV, almost always BBC News, which is a good thing, and often Sumo wrestling, which is a puzzling thing, and then to bed.

I have found that fresh air, walking and a nap aren't the perfect jet lag solution, but they do pretty well anytime, and even better on a sunny day. I'm usually completely on the local time by the third day.

Washington, DC
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58 posts
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6. Re: jetlag

I have flown many times to Australia from the East Coast and have never had jetlag. I always follow the simple routine of drinking TONS of water beginning at least one day prior to departure. I drink a liter on the way to the airport, more while waiting for my flight and then visit the loo all the way across the country. I then try to drink at least one liter, if not two, while on the West Coast layover. After 2 Excedrin PMs I sleep from take off until breakfast and landing in Australia. Again....drink water and stay out in the sunshine until sunset and then an early night to bed. I drink only water and by staying hydrated suffer no jetlag. Wish it worked as easily for me flying from the East coast to Europe. I find that flight just isn't long enough for an decent amount of sleep--which with 2 Excedrin PMs requires at least 6 hours. That med does not leave me feeling groggy like all the others. I do try to eat protein, especially right after landing. I avoid junk food, salty foods, most airline food and high carb sweets. Sliced apple dipped in peanutbutter is my standby. I just put the individual container of pb in my carry on plastic bag with my small liquids.

Alexandria, Virginia
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123 posts
26 reviews
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7. Re: jetlag

Sleep on the plane and stay up until a "normal" bedtime once you arrive. For example, if you arrive at 1430 do whatever you have to to stay up until 2000 or 2100. This can be difficult, but should put you on Paris time whenever you get up in the AM.

wayne, pa
Level Contributor
68 posts
12 reviews
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8. Re: jetlag

Thanks for all your suggestions. Will try the water- never heard of that one before :)

Takapuna, New...
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3,412 posts
39 reviews
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9. Re: jetlag

Two things occur to the body during long flights. Firstly you may feel tired when getting off the flight due to lack of sleep and dehydration. Secondly, the difference in time zones may cause a sleepy feeling during the day and a wide awake feeling during the night. I use Melatonin capsules to combat both symptoms.

I travel frequently from New Zealand to Europe in either direction. It is 2 x 12 hour sectors each way and a 12 hour time difference give or take an hour. The flights usually depart at night so I take a melatonin capsule when I get on the plane and will be asleep within 2 hours. I take a second Melatonin after boarding for the second sector. I can usually manage 6 hours of sleep on each of the 2 sectors and arrive in Europe or NZ early morning and able to get off the plane and work or drive without feeling any hardship until mid afternoon when I start to flag a bit. Then I try to get out and walk, have an early dinner then take another Melatonin and got to bed. I take a further Melatonin each night for the next 2 nights. The Melatonins on the nights after the flight prevent me from waking up in the wee hours and assist in adapting to the new time zone.

Just for the record, I am not a health professional, but my understanding of Melatonin is that it is a naturally occuring hormone produced in the pineal gland at the base of the brain. It is important in regulating sleep, and may play a role in maintaining circadian rhythm, the body's natural time clock.

Vancouver, Canada
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1,232 posts
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10. Re: jetlag

If possible, try to get a flight that arrives in Paris late in the day. To me, that makes all the difference. I cannot sleep on a plane period and I watch those who can in awe. It's torture.I cannot imagine getting into Paris at 8:00 am with a whole day ahead of me!! So, if you arrive in the afternoon, by the time you get to your apt/hotel, it's late and you can just veg out and go to sleep at a decent time instead of walking around waiting for bed time.