I am writing this post at 4:40AM. I have been awake now for about 2 hours, and I have no prayer or hope of falling back to sleep any time soon. I returned to Singapore from New York Monday night, and promptly fell asleep (I don’t sleep on airplanes, and the 24 hour transit time helped with my exhaustion). The problem is, my body is still set for New York time, so most of the day on Tuesday, I slept. I tried not to….I tried to stay awake; gave myself things to do, but it didn’t work. I slept through most of the afternoon, awakening fully around 7PM. Luckily, I was still exhausted from 24 hours of travel, so I fell asleep again around 11PM…..only to wake up at 2:30AM.
Most sources on jet-lag say that it takes about 1 day for every hour of time difference to adjust. Well, that’s just great! Singapore to New York is a 12 hour time difference. So, using that logic, it will take 12 days to adjust back to Singapore time. Going to New York, it was actually very easy to adjust. I was back on New York time in a couple of days. The same sources say that going west is an easier time adjustment than going east. If you go west, you just have to force yourself to stay awake until a reasonable time in the evening when your exhausted body can finally sleep. I try to do that whenever I return to the US from wherever I am in the world, but it still takes me a couple of days to adjust. Heading back east is more difficult. You arrive in the evening, when it’s morning in the west. Keeping yourself awake would waste the night, and would, virtually, keep you from sleeping for almost 24 hours. That’s impossible!
The idea of jet-lag didn’t really exist until flight took off (ha…pun intended). People didn’t have to go through time zone adjustments when there was sea travel because crossing time zones took a long time, and adjusting slowly (one hour at a time) doesn’t really produce the effects of jet lag. Sometime in the mid-1950s, when people started flying around the world, jet-lag became a well-known phenomenon. It’s very real and it’s very annoying! It’s especially annoying to those of us that have to travel across many time zones and then are expected to adjust almost immediately. I have to be at work tomorrow (Thursday), and I know I will probably be very tired, to the point where I may close my eyes if I’m not kept interested and busy. Here’s hoping this adjustment happens quickly, or I might have to crack open that bottle of Tylenol PM that I bought at Target when I was back in the States!