Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Customized Jet Lag Program

Several months ago, I planned a complicated international itinerary that forced me to fly from New York City to London where I would stay for several days, London to Montenegro where I intended to hike for a week; Montenegro to London; London to Romania where I was scheduled to drive, hike and tour for five days; Romania to London; and London to back to New York City. Clearly, with the back and forth through multiple time zones, jet lag would be an issue. (Even though I already was quite knowledgeable about getting jet lag.)  A month before my trip, I received an email from Bill Ashton, the founder of the Palo Alto-based company StopJetLag.



The company devises personalized travel plans using very sophisticated software that relies on the immense body of research of Ashton's colleague, Dr. Charles Ehret, a well-respected scientist who worked in the field of circadian rhythm for some 40 years. Ashton -- who has plenty of experience with jet lag as  a former tour manager for a band and ski team coach -- offered me a complimentary personalized plan for my multi-leg trip. (The price of the program is quite reasonable at $35.)

I filled out an online questionnaire detailing my itinerary, what time I typically eat meals, go to sleep and wake up, as well as whether I drink coffee. ( I specifically mentioned that I don't drink coffee and I wasn't interested in taking melatonin supplements to help reset my circadian rhythm.) Then the custom profile arrived in my inbox.

 It was amazingly detailed and included what size and type of meals I should eat (high protein meals are energizers while high carbohydrate ones help promote sleep), and what time I should get some exercise and get exposed to bright light (which also helps reset your circadian rhythms). It was very easy to follow with a calendar that highlighted all the necessary strategies for different days of my itinerary. The profile told me when to reset my watch to my destination and how I should start preparing for my trip with dietary changes before I left home.

Even though I don't suffer from jet lag the way most people do and I'm quite familiar with many of the anti-jet lag strategies, I found the plan helpful, especially with when to be active and get sunlight.

If anyone suffers from jet lag, I think it's absolutely worth giving this program a try. And, for those who don't like caffeine or taking supplements, you can successfully combat jet lag without relying on coffee or melatonin. This program really takes the guess work out of the entire process of assuring that you arrive at your destination refreshed and that you're at your peak performance while you travel.

18 comments:

Sheryl said...

As someone who is affected by time changes- even as little as three hours - this sounds like a really great and reasonable program to try.

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, I would definitely check it out if I were you, then. You're bound to have some benefit from the multiple components of the program.

Jane Boursaw said...

I'd probably be a jet-lag mess if I ever traveled anywhere. This sounds like a great program.

Vera Marie Badertrscher said...

Sounds very similar to a book we used starting about 20 years ago, where you calculate when to eat high protein and when to eat high carb according to a time table tied to the number of time zones you are covering.(Also the light and activity stuff) That one used caffeine, though. Does this one just skip the caffeine and do the other part, or is there a substitute. Although we don't follow it strictly any more, we definitely try to use the exposure to light and the activity portions.

Sheryl said...

As someone who is affected by time changes- even as little as three hours - this sounds like a really great and reasonable program to try.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, I think it's definitely worth the money.

JTravel said...

Hi Vera Marie, This program also has the caffeine and/or melatonin components. I just didn't want to go that way so I opted out.

merr said...

I'm forwarding this to my husband ... we are planning an international trip for later this year and it seems like something to think about.

JTravel said...

Hi merr, hope the program helps you and your husband. Enjoy your travels.

Living Large said...

This sounds great. I'm also affected by jet lag. When we went to Germany, we only had 10 days and were there at least 5 before we felt like ourselves!

JTravel said...

Hi Living Large, Jet lag messes up so many international trips. You should give this program a try. Even if you don't do the caffeine/melatonin component, I think you'll find some benefits, as I did.

ruthpennebaker said...

Interesting post. I've found jet lag to be enormously variable -- sometimes, it slams me, sometimes, it doesn't.

JTravel said...

Hi ruth, Yes, I find I'm affected by jet lag differently on different trips, depending on a variety of factors, including how tired I've been the week before I depart.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

Ruth's comment interests me too since it does seem like different trips affect me more than others. It's been awhile since I've traveled abroad but I'll have to keep this in mind.

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEatSquid, It also depends alot on how many time zones you are crossing and whether you are flying west to east or vise versa.

Catherine said...

I'm extremely interested in this program so will contact them for a coming trip to the UK. I travel extensively plus I'm an insomniac (difficult combo).

JTravel said...

Hi Catherine, I hope the program minimizes your jet lag problems on your next trip.

Helicopter crashes lawyer said...

I saw that in Japan they have a minimum of jet lag. You can try to fly there :)