As I prepare to travel back to Italy next week after two years away, there IS one thing I’m not looking forward to. Jet lag. The enemy of any long journey. My excitement is overwhelming, and I already have a history of not sleeping a wink on that overnight flight. What to do? Can you actually beat jet lag? Is the secret in the preparation for the trip or what you do upon arrival? I have my own routine, which seems to work for me most of the time.
If you do any reading on jet lag, everyone suggests adjusting your bedtime in the days leading up to your trip. I find it impossible to change my sleep habits leading up to a trip. As much as I try, I am up late the night before making sure I have everything and second-guessing my choice of clothing, suitcase, and accessories! Even if I’m feeling good about my decisions, I’m too excited to get a good night’s sleep. And if I’m flying early in the morning, it’s a completely lost cause! So my jet lag remedies are all things I do in-flight and upon arrival at my destination. I fly from Toronto to Rome and then take a train or sometimes hire a car service to get to Orvieto.
Though I know that I probably won’t sleep on the flight, I do try to recline and rest. Drink plenty of water, no caffeine, and get up and walk frequently. When the lights come up as the sun rises, I will have some caffeine, as I do at home, to start my day.
I will often catch a little rest on the train or in the car before I get to Orvieto. Most advice regarding jet lag says don’t sleep when you arrive, or if you must, only sleep for 20 minutes. I fully agree and subscribe to this advice! Try to keep moving. Once you set your watch to the local time, fake it ’till you make it! Eat at normal meal times, and try to stay up until after dinner.
When I’m welcoming guests with Adventures in Italy, I always arrive a couple of days early to allow my body time to adjust to the new time zone. That first night in Orvieto, I go to bed early and sleep in as long as I need the next day. Sometimes that means jumping right into lunch, but that’s okay. The fresh air and excitement of exploring, along with that first night of good sleep, are usually all I need to reset my clock.
None of these are original ideas, but simply what I find works for me. Hopefully they will help you on your next adventure! If you have tried-and-true methods of your own, please share!
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Michelle Logue leads cultural and creative adventures in Orvieto, Italy. With a mandate to provide "travel that transforms", Adventures in Italy gives guests an immersive experience. After more than 15 years of return trips, Orvieto has become a welcoming home base surpassing the typical Italian vacation.
Adventures in Italy operates trips in May and September, with two options: Artistic Enrichment nurtures creative expression, while Discover Orvieto invites visitors to focus on the history and culture of Orvieto and live as locals. Find out more about tours and special offers by following Adventures in Italy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit www.adventuresinitaly.ca
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.