You are excited about your trip. You can't wait to see see Paris, London or Rome, but once you get there…..you are dead tired, completely exhausted, not good for anything.
Travel from the US East Coast to Europe seems to be especially challenging - I always found the 9 hours from California much easier.
As a frequent traveller I gradually figured out a way to keep exhaustion minimal and to be mostly functional from day 2:
Wear earplugs on the plane. Stress from airplane noise is enormous and very harmful to the body. Good earplugs only block out the harmful noise, you can still hear announcements or the flight attendants. As a test take them out briefly during a flight and you will see what I mean....
Do NOT go to sleep on your arrival before 6-7pm local time. Keep walking and moving around, but do not sleep no matter how much you will be tempted. Otherwise, you can pretty much forget the next few days.
Take a strong sleeping pill the first night to make sure I sleep through the night. This greatly helps the body adjust to the new time zone. I am not a fan of prescription drugs and never take them otherwise, but that is the one time when they are really helpful.
Those 3 steps have worked relatively well for me the last 15 years, but the arrival day was still always brutal, especially when you arrive early in the morning. It is always just such an unpleasant by-product of travelling.
Until…..I was recently introduced to a new little gadget called the “Human Charger” that supposedly eliminates or at least greatly reduces JetLag.
I had heard about it from another travel blogger and decided to give it a try on my recent flight from New York to South Africa. The time zone difference is the same as Europe, and I knew I would have to get up at 4:30am the next morning to go on Safari.
This would have been a miserable experience even with the above 3 steps - and I am not an early riser anyway.
So I gave the Human Charger a try and the results were absolutely phenomenal!
I easily woke up at 4:30, was fully energized and remained that way throughout the day as though I had never crossed 6 time zones the day before.
Not only that, but I remained an early riser for the next week and even beyond - very untypical for me - and a wonderful way to start the day.
Now you might wonder - what is a Human Charger and why does it work?
First of all - here is a picture:
It looks a lot like an ipod with ear phones, except that those ear phones don’t transmit music, but UV-free, blue-enriched white light to the brain.
We all have experienced how sunshine boosts our energy levels and lifts our mood and when we travel between timezones, we simply don’t get enough light.
You might have also heard how people in Northern countries where the sun never rises during winter greatly suffer from depression and mood disorders.
In 2007, scientist and engineer Juuso Nissila and Antti Aunio launched Valkee to fight through the long, dark winters of their home in northern Finland. Perceiving our brain as the central ‘mood’ system and our body as the timekeeper, they designed a device that brings light to where we need it most.
Simply push the power button and UV-free, blue-enriched white light starts flowing through the ear canals to the light-sensitive regions of the brain.
Wear it for just 12 minutes and you’re done. 12 minutes a day is the ideal amount of light therapy to get fully charged under normal conditions.
When travelling, just start a few days before and then once you land, use it 4 times during the following days - usually 8am, 10am, 12noon, 2pm local time.
In my case, it worked so well that I only needed it on my arrival day and the first safari day, but if I ever feel tired or don’t get enough sleep, I still use it for 12 minutes in the morning and I can feel a clear difference.
If you are wondering about the science behind it, here is a clinical study that goes more in-depth:
I conclusion, I can highly recommend this device. It far surpassed my expectations and is well worth the price, especially if you travel a lot. Given how badly jetlag can disrupt our travel plans - sometimes for days - this was an amazing discovery and made my first Africa experience so much better.