You might have wondered what happened to me. Did I just vanish from the blogosphere? No. I am alive and kicking. Here is the story.
The last article I wrote was about my son’s birthday on 21st April. It was a great day. We had many visitors during that day, my in laws, my wife’s uncle who is visiting us and whom I had shown off Mumbai last week, my son’s fiancée. We also received a lot of phone calls. So by the time our last visitor left, I was tired and well past my normal time to write the post.
On 22nd night, I flew to USA for a business trip. I took a Continental Airlines direct flight between Mumbai and Newark. It is a 15 hour long flight. On the flight, I got the worst possible seat. Each row in the economy class had 9 seats, broken into three groups of three each. I was exactly in the centre of the row. So anytime I needed to get out, I had to ask one of my co-passengers to get out in the aisle before I could. It is normally advised that you consume a lot of fluids on the flight. But when you do that, you need to visit the bathroom more often. With my seat, I didn’t follow that advice since it would have meant waking one of my co-passenger every few hours.
Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s rhythms. It is a sleep disorder that results from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel on jet planes.
So far in all my past trips, I have a used a simple formula to avoid jet lag. Whenever you reach the destination, keep awake till it is local time to sleep. I was scheduled to reach Newark at 5.25 AM and then Boston at 9.30 AM. So my plan was very simple. Sleep as much as I can on the flight till Newark and then keep awake in Boston till 9.30 PM or later. This formula had never failed in the past.
So I watched only two movies on the flight and then slept most of the time. We were woken up from our slumbers by the flight crew at 3.30 AM to feed us breakfast. We landed at Newark airport as scheduled. The flight to Boston was also uneventful. It was great to see Peter on the airport who had come to pick me up. A friendly, smiling face in a foreign land is invaluable. Peter picked me up and dropped me at Sandeep’s house. Sandeep is a very dear friend since IIT days and now my colleague. In fact I work for the company that was founded by him. Spent the whole day with Sandeep roaming around and keeping awake.
Finally, at 9.30 in the night, I was feeling very sleepy. I was happy. I was certain that I would sleep through the night and would be normal from next day. Little did I know it was not to be so. I woke up at 3.30 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I kept lounging on the bed and drifted in and out of sleep.
That was the night of 23rd and morning of 24th. After that, this has almost become a pattern. I woke up at 3.30 in the morning and just couldn’t go back to sleep. We had meetings starting that morning, so I took that opportunity and started preparing for the meeting. In fact, I even caught up and chatted with my colleagues in Mumbai. On 25th and 26th, we had day long meetings and there was no way I could even catch a wink of sleep during them. I usually slept around 11 PM, and in spite of that, I woke up at 3.30 in the morning.
Today is 27th and I hope to sleep through the night.
I am really surprised that this should happen. In the past, I never had this trouble. Am I getting old? Did the dehydration in flight cause this? Was I too excited about the meetings? Did the airline food affect me? (There is a study that says avoiding airline food can help avoid jet lag.) I have no clue what caused this. The whole episode further increased my respect for our numerous jet setting business visitors who seem to roam around the whole world without getting affected.
Did you ever suffer from jet lag? Please share your story.