Jet Lag: The Struggle Is Real

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Just so you know, I originally started writing this post at 3 a.m. Why? Because I'm wired. Curse you, jet lag!

First of all, I want to say thank you to all our readers who chimed in with advice for surviving long flights a few weeks ago when I was preparing to take the longest flight of my life. I'm happy to report that I had a wonderful time traveling around Vietnam with World Spree, meeting the lovely and warm-hearted Vietnamese people, learning about the country's vast history, getting a chance to explore Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay—and, my favorite part, sampling spring rolls and other amazing Vietnamese food along the way.

The 14-hour flights between NYC and Seoul—where I connected to Ho Chi Minh City on the way there and from Hanoi on the way home—went by smoothly thanks to Korean Air's attentive and friendly flight attendants, who went out of their way to make sure everyone onboard was comfortable and well-fed. It was so nice to be given comfy slippers and yummy treats like brownies in addition to the usual meals and beverage service—and I was in coach feeling like a million bucks.

All things aside, I arrived home safe and sound by 1 p.m. and allowed the inevitable jet lag to wash over me. Thinking I'd just be down for a cat nap, I woke up nine hours later feeling totally refreshed. The only problem? It was 10 p.m. and I needed to be up for work in the morning but I was absolutely wired. I cranked up my computer and went through emails til about 5 a.m., caught a few winks in between, and started my day.

Needless to say it's been a rough week and my sleeping patterns continue to be off-kilter. I've been told by some people that it can take up to one day for each time zone you're coming from to fully adjust, which means I'll be going through this for a few more days.

This was my first major international-dateline-crossing flight experience so I'm sure it's all totally normal, but it still feels weird. I've never had this much of a problem traveling back and forth from Europe, so maybe it has more to do with the direction of travel. When I fly to Europe, I try to sleep on the plane so that I'm rested and ready to hit the ground running when I get there. When I come home from Europe, my plan is usually to have a movie marathon during my afternoon flight and then go to sleep once I get back to New York that night as usual. My worst jet lag has always been traveling from west to east—flying from Hawaii to New York had me sleeping in til 3 p.m. as a kid whenever we flew home to visit family! But maybe that's just me. We've covered this topic before, only that travel editor had experienced issues with jet lag while traveling in the opposite direction, from east to west.

What about you? Have you ever dealt with jet lag after a trip? How long did it take you to recover? Do you have any secrets for getting through it? Sound off below!

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