Jet lag

Is jet lag worse when traveling east-to-west or west-to-east? Or does it vary with the individual?

related question: A fairly educated friend of mine made the claim that refraining from protein while traveling will reduce the effects of jet lag.

The theory being that, if you don’t eat protein on the day that you are flying, your body will stop making melanin and your sleep cycle will be in a sort of non-set state. Then, when you finish your flight, you eat your 3 daily meals at the correct clock times and be sure to include a serving of protein at each meal.

Anyone got the straight dope on this?

I spent twenty hours going east-west and west-east, and west-east was considerably easier. I arrived at 8AM going west-east, stayed up all day and crashed at 10:00pm. Coming back, I arrived at 10:00 p.m. after twenty hours of travel, slept at 11:00, and woke up at 4:30 for the next three days. This has been my experience the other two times I’ve been overseas.

Everybody’s different, but I thought I’d share.

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I travel overseas a lot. Both from North America to Asia and from North America to Europe. I lived in Hong Kong for some years and travelled from Asia to North America and Asia to Europe.

I can say for myself and for all the colleagues I know, that travelling West to East is the worst. I never have any real problem travelling East to West, other than general tiredness from a long trip.

However, West to East leaves you with a jet lag that is bad for about 3 days with the 2nd and 3rd day being the worst.

I quit a job due to extensive international travel. West to east was always much worse…exactly as Rain Soaked discribed above.

For a given amount of time, travelling west to east will be harder, because you are moving against the daylight and thus are making a bigger disruption.

Travelling east to west is supposed to be easier to handle. One reason being that the body’s diurnal cycle in the absense of day/night cues is closer to 25 hours than 24. This means that you cope better with a longer day rather than a shorter one.

If I may hijack a little, what’s the best way to mediate the effects of eastward travel?

I’m flying from Chicago to India in December. I’m leaving at 7pm on Xmas Eve and arriving at 2am Boxing Day (local time). I’m getting married on the 29th, and I’d like to be awake for most of it.

My FMiL has offered to give us Ambien, but I don’t know if that’ll be the most comfortable 16 hour nap.

I’ve also read that you can start shifting your schedule 1 hour each day before the trip so you arrive synced to local time. Is that worth the 11 day commitment to treat take-off as 6:30 in my morning?

Will Santa be able to find me for an hour and a half in the Frankfurt airport?

East to West easier than West to East. I take Ambient/ temazepam on the plane when I fly west to east.

I had a harder time flying from Brunei to the U.K. than flying from the U.K. to Brunei.

I have done two round trips from Shanghai to Orlando and Denver in the past 3 weeks. The last trip to Denver with 3 little kids and we just got back home to Shanghai about 2 hours ago. Lemme tell ya, having 3 little kids on a different schedule on the plane and with jet lag means 24/7 for the parents. Ughhh, that was the most tiring vacation I’ve ever had.

It varies with the individual and the trip. I say that with 20+ years of flying across the pacific. It also has to do with what local time the flight leaves and the local time the flight arrives.

also varies on if it’s a vacation or a work trip with a hard schedule.

IMHO the WORST thing you can do is try to exhaust yourself. Often backfires with several days of 2 hours of sleep.

Ambian is your friend. Ever since I discovered Ambien jet lag has become tolerable. You still get jet lag but at least you;re reasonably rested at night.

West to east worse here, too. But I know of one person who says the opposite.

Mrs. Napier complained bitterly of jet lag on one of the few times we flew, which was from Philadelphia to Miami. The astute reader will note that this flight does NOT change time zones…

I can understand that. Air travel is tiring regardless of whether you change timezones or not. Given that she hadn’t flown much it is to be expected that she’d mistake travel tiredness for jetlag.