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Sleep, Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

November 8, 2009
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I am starting to understand what people talk about when they talk about jet lag.

Last week, while I was in Portugal, I didn’t worry about it. When I’d been to Peru in 2001, I didn’t have any problems with jet lag going or coming and even slept on the plane going there curled up against the window (it’s only three hours difference but it is also a LONG flight: we went from LAX to Miami to Lima). In Lisbon, I stayed up late: two hour dinners starting at 8:30 or 9pm  or later, followed by writing and keeping caught up on projects on the other side of the globe where it was mid-afternoon or evening. Most nights I slept 4-5 hours; one night I actually slept for 6. The days were so busy and exciting visiting wineries and castles and delicious lunches closed with an espresso that while at times I grew quiet, I never dozed off or wanted to. It didn’t really feel like jet lag was much of a problem.

Sleeping on a crowded plane is a joke. I didn’t sleep much going to Portugal or coming back home–except for the leg from Lisbon to Zurich when I had three seats to myself and could stretch out and sleep for two hours. (Next time, in addition to my silk wrap I used as an additional blanket and pillow, and plenty of warm clothes, I will have ear phones, one of those neck supports, and an eye covering beyond pulling my beret down over my eyes!)

So when I arrived in LA, I was a zombie–a zombie who had to navigate customs, Lot C buses and then LA Friday night traffic! Somehow I made it not only home but to the Bell Arts Factory for the Bikers Ball which followed this month’s Super Heroes Ride. I even mangaged to being wearing a costume because I had packed it in my car before I left. My crack team of students and friends had it all together (thanks Helen, Borbala, Angela, Grant and Tracy!) so when I got there all I had to take care of was a pack of wild kids, one of which was mine!  I helped coordinate cleanup then hit the hay in my own bed which felt so good. Nine hours later, we were up getting ready for a 930am soccer game and I felt fine–until 7pm when it felt like I hit a brick wall. BOOM: after dinner I was out like a light, and slept for nearly 11 hours. Sunday I awoke again feeling great, went to yoga, graded papers all day, and was fixing dinner when again at 7pm BOOM! I hit that wall again. So I am off to bed again! Hopefully another 10 hours of sleep will not only catch me up from my lack last week but get me back on a local time table–and have some time to get more written about my trip!

So what do you do for jet lag? Any tip for before, during and after a trip across time zones? Because I now have the travel bug in a big way and don’t want to let jet lag disturb me anymore!

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