Wanderlust with Cynthia Rosenfeld: Jet lagging

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The email I send out is time stamped 4.28am, so it’s no surprise the title line reads ‘Jet Lag Cures?’ I am awake at this hour for the fifth night straight, following a flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles that was the last leg of a two-month, round-the-world work trip with stops in Cambodia, India and France. 

For the last three years, I relied successfully on one Brazilian homeopathic remedy called Jet Candy to combat the trouble of criss-crossing time zones. The night before any trans-continental flight, I would open the plastic bottle and tap out a tiny ball containing homeopathic ingredients like arnica and chamomile. Following the instructions, I would take another eight of these tiny pills before, during and after the flight.

Perhaps it was only ever a placebo, or I’ve now built up a tolerance, but Jet Candy’s power over my circadian rhythms has definitely waned. In need of a new, more potent weapon in my fight to stay awake during the day and sleep after dark wherever I alight, I turned to my fellow frequent flyers and their diversity of cures.

One Hungarian hotelier friend suggests a full body scrub, hydrating facial and lymphatic drainage massage immediately upon arrival. Alluring for sure, but too pricy and time consuming for me. I like the straightforward approach of jetsetting Aqua Expeditions’ (aquaexpeditions.com) sales and marketing director, Milly Alva, who turns her watch to the destination’s time as soon as she boards the airplane and immediately starts acting like she’s in the future time zone so that if it’s time to sleep, she does, and if it’s time to work, she does that too. She also advises drinking tons of water, but admits a glass of red wine or two is her medicine of last resort. 

Following my email, I’m finding that traditional remedies proliferate among my friends’ solutions to this very modern problem. Luxury travel public relations specialist Avon Wong of Mango PR offers to send me her ancient Chinese secret, a jujube and dried longan tea that the Hong Kong-based Wong says is good for replenishing qi. Atlanta-based travel agent Betty Jo Currie scents her travel pillow with lavender, while JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, the founder of one of the travel industry’s top marketing firms, boasts ‘I don’t get jet lag at all’ because of regular vitamin B and C injections, along with a bath infused with eucalyptus and lavender on arrival. Though a needle-based cure seems extreme to me, I am willing to try her in-flight suggestion, listening to meditation tapes from Dr Jeffrey Thompson, considered the world’s leading sound healing researcher.

Jennifer Thompson’s (healthybliss.net) approach also appeals. She swears off sugar, alcohol or airplane food on the day of travel, and drinks only herbal teas and water mixed with Amazing Grass (amazinggrass.com) for plentiful antioxidants throughout the journey. On the day of arrival, she eats and drinks like she’s on a mini-detox. Thompson recommends taking a magnesium rich Epsom salt bath to help muscles relax and to drink plenty of water.

A little red wine aside, it seems hydration and encouraging circulation are my body’s best weapon for fighting this travel side effect. Until I find one which suits me, I’m grateful for these friends in other time zones, able to respond when I’m awake during these topsy turvy hours of mine.

Follow Cynthia on Instgram and Twitter: @CynthiaRoams

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