The Jet Lag Experiment – Results
Jet Lag

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my jet lag experimentSo, did it work?!?

As a recap, some scientists say that our bodies can only adapt to one hour of time change per day.  So, to cure my jet lag faster, I woke up 30 minutes earlier (and went to bed 30 minutes earlier) each day for the week before my European runcation.

The morning of flight to Zurich, Switzerland, we awoke at 4:00 am for our afternoon flight (needless to say, my wife was not thrilled with this experiment).  After driving down to Denver, then taking the train from Union Station, and finally getting on our flight, I was exhausted.

I watched a short movie as the flight started, and as I saw the flight attendants wheeling the food carts up the aisle, I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  With almost 6 hours remaining in the flight, I was ready for sleep!  So, if I was in a first-class, or business-class seat, I think the “Jet Lag Experiment” would have been a great success.  I would have had a decent night’s rest and I would have been waking up around 9:00 am local time.

However, we flew economy, so my sleep was fitful.  Because I was so tired, I did get the most sleep I have ever had on an international flight, so I would still call this experiment a mild success.  I made it through the first day in Switzerland without a nap, and we were in bed around 9:30 pm for a good night’s sleep to reset our internal clocks.

My wife doesn’t sleep on planes as well as I do, so the results from her experiment weren’t as good.  Since she got very little sleep on the plane, getting up so early in the morning just made her more tired for her first day in Europe.

We had a direct flight from Denver to Munich.  So, after dinner I was tired, and I knew I had 6 hours before I had to be awake.  If our flight had connected first somewhere in the U.S., I don’t think this experiment would have worked as well for me.  By 7:00 pm, I was ready to sleep.  If we had connected, it would have probably been a couple of hours later before I could close my eyes, and it would shortened the amount of time I had for uninterrupted sleep.

So, I would say that this jet lag “cure” could work with the following caveats:

  • You are in a business-class or first-class seat, or you sleep well in an economy seat.
  • The timing of your flight and connections will mean that you are settled in and done with dinner by 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

About Author

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Dan Bergan
Hi, I’m Dan! I have a been a runner since just about the time I could walk, and traveling to Europe for the past 15 years. And, now doing both with Finish Line Travel!