As you know, we recently took a little get-away to New York. We were gone for five days total, including flying back and forth. And I managed to avoid jet lag. If you’re curious to find out what I did, keep reading.
Avoiding jet lag was very new to me. I’m usually very hit by the smallest change in bedtime hours and traveling through timezones always throws me out of my rhythm. I’m not a naturally good sleeper. For the same reason I go to bed at almost the exact same time every night and if I just postpone bedtime a bit, I have trouble falling asleep. I call it that my “sleep window is open” and if I miss it, it can take hours for me to get tired and go to sleep.
Søren laughs at me (and rolls his eyes when I’m not looking) because he can sleep anytime anywhere. But I know I’m not the only one who works like this.
As you can imagine, I’m normally very prone to jet lag. I remember one year when we went to Singapore. Or to be honest, I don’t remember much because I was so jet lagged. I was awake every night and nauseous and disoriented during the day. Jet lag is a bitch!
I was really looking forward to New York but feared that our very short trip might get ruined by jet lag. But it didn’t – at all! I slept at night and was awake during the day. And my circadian rhythm seemed quite stable all the way through. Also after we got back home.
Here’s what I did differently this time.
We were flying out from Copenhagen Wednesday morning at 10AM. I had a large breakfast at home and then I fasted until we were in New York.
Because of the time difference, we landed in NYC at lunch time. We got into the city, checked in to our hotel and then went out and found a nice place to have lunch. At that time, it was maybe 2-3PM. We sat down and had a nice lunch.
All in all I think that gave me a good 14 hour fast.
Later we had dinner and in that way, we managed to place meal times according to New York time.
On our way home, I did the same thing. We were flying out from New York at 5.30PM so I had lunch around 2PM and fasted until we were back in Copenhagen. We landed in the morning and I got home and had breakfast.
This fast felt more natural to me as parts of it was during my “night” where I normally don’t eat.
I TOOK MELATONIN
For the first time I also tried taking melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone hat regulates our natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. The release of melatonin correlates with the body’s cycle of day and night. The highest levels of the hormone are produced at night when it’s dark and many people call it the sleep hormone.
In Denmark, melatonin is not approved for sale over the counter.
I took one pill (5 mg) before bedtime the first couple of days in New York and did the same when we were back in Copenhagen.
I’m 100% certain that it helped me get through the transition without missing sleep.
OTHER SYMPTOMS OF JET LAG
Obviously getting enough sleep plays a huge role in how we feel. And disrupted or lack of sleep is usually my biggest issue with traveling though time zones. But sleep disruptions aren’t the only symptom of jet lag.
For the first couple of days after we got back to Copenhagen, I suffered from a bit of nausea. Nothing serious, I just didn’t feel my best. I’m sure that had to do with jet lag too.
In total it actually took me 5-6 days before I felt my good own self again. And from what I can understand it’s normal that it takes about one day for every time zone you travel through.
The idea of fasting while traveling isn’t all that new to me. I have done it spontaneously several times before. Not systematically like this time but merely because it’s easier that way. Flight food is not the most delicious meal anyway so it’s not like you’re missing out. Often I’d rather not eat than eat what they serve in the little trays.
I know that many people are frightened by the thought of not eating but when your daily diet is LCHF-inspired, it’s actually quite easy.
Your insulin levels are low making it easy for your body to get access to the fat inside the fat cells. And since the body is already accustomed to burning fat, it really doesn’t care if the fat it burns comes from dietary fat or from fat from your thighs. Literally!
For more about LCHF, read here: WHAT IS LCHF?
Fasting also brings your body to a state of ketosis if it wasn’t already. The ketone bodies produced naturally lowers your appetite meaning that you can fast without feeling hungry.
One important note: When flying (and especially when fasting too), remember to drink enough water!
OTHER STRATEGIES FOR ELIMINATING JET LAG
The idea of doing a systematic fast while traveling came after I listened to a very interesting podcast.
Listen to it yourself and get more inspiration as to what you can do to eliminate jet lag when you travel.
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