Monday, July 22, 2013

Talking About Jet Lag, by Cecilia Brainard

OK, I'm really, really jet lagged. I got in Friday night, and it's early Monday morning and I'm not back in gear. The time difference between California and the Philippines is 15 hours, meaning it's around 2 a.m. in California, and it's 5 p.m. in the Philippines. And I'm wide awake.

I hate this. I can feel panic rising in me as the clock ticks forward and I'm not one whit sleepy.

I had been laying in bed, staring at the dark ceiling, and finally I gave up and now I'm staring at the computer screen, trying to coax some words out of me.

"Jet lag is a result of alterations to the body's circadian rhythms because of long distance travel."  I got that from Wikipedia.  And Wiki goes on to say that "The condition of jet lag may last several days until one is fully adjusted to the new time zone, and a recovery rate of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline." 

How many time zones is between the Philippines and California?  I hate to think about this because there's a whole Pacific Ocean in between.

In the past, two or three days was all it took for me to back to normal. Maybe tomorrow everything will be all right.

Wiki has some suggestions about managing jet lag by exercise and exposure to sunlight. No luck for that at this time. Or maybe I could wait up for dawn.

This is how I feel: I'm tired, but the mind is all over the place. The brain isn't even bright and perky; there's an edge because of the thought that the time is now edging on to 3 a.m. without any prospect of sleep in sight.

Maybe there's a Jet Lag Anonymous out there, that I could join at least for tonight.

I just checked -- no such luck. I see Jet Lag referring to men's cargo shorts and a few articles from jet lagged people giving advise about how to cope with jet lag.

OK, I've got to get a handle on this situation, and wrap this up, get a drink of water, and go back to bed. At least I have no appointments tomorrow. I can sleep until noon if I want to. But if I do that, then maybe I'll never snap out of this Jet Lag. Maybe what I need to do is force myself to wake up in the morning and go about my business. The thing is I've tried that before and you feel really lousy, like you went drinking all night and have a hang over. Mind in a muddle; body aching; just plain miserable.

All right, I'm going to give Sleep another chance here, so good night. Or good morning, however you look at it.

For your entertainment, I've included a picture taken at Kumarakom Resort in Kerala, India. And here's one of me with Salman Rushdie, taken a while ago in a PEN Conference in Galicia, Spain.

tags: jet lag, sleep, PEN, Salman Rushdie, Cecilia Brainard

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