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Overcoming jet lag problems for your Italian vacation | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 01:28
Overcoming jet lag problems in Italy

So you’ve spent months planning your perfect vacation to Italy, but there was one nasty little thing you forgot to consider – no, not Montezuma’s revenge – but jet lag. Jet lag occurs when you fly across time zones and your body (actually the pineal gland) does not have a chance to adjust to the time in the new destination wreaking havoc with your body clock.

Researchers say it can take a day for your body to adjust for each hour of time difference. Therefore, a New York to Rome flight would require 6 days before you fully adjust. And if you’re like most people now strapped for time, you do not want to spend half your vacation feeling like a zombie.

It is an inevitable part of any long-distance trip, but there are ways to minimize it:

Before your trip

Try to start adjusting to the destination time zone prior to your trip. If you’re flying from the United States or Canada, try to get to bed a little earlier every night. And likewise, try to get up earlier as well. Let’s say you’re in Toronto, which has a time zone difference of 6 hours with Rome. If you normally go to bed at 11 PM, then try to get it down to 9PM. That way, you’ll save 2 hours of jet lag prior to your departure.

On the plane

  • Keep hydrated – drink plenty of water on the plane. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as they tend to dehydrate you. You should also try to avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Change the time on your watch – don’t even think about what time it is back home. Get your mind used to the new time zone.
  • Try to get out of your seat and stretch every so often to get the blood circulating and to avoid cramps.
  • Catch a few hours of sleep on the flight. You can usually expect to arrive in Italy during the morning hours. Those few hours may tide you over until night-time when you can get a good nights rest.
  • Ask the flight attendant for an eye mask if the light is too bothersome, or ear plugs. Or better yet, purchase them before hand, as not all airlines carry those items.

Avoiding jet-lag when you arrive in Italy

On your first day, resist the urge to take an afternoon siesta (usually around 2 to 4 PM). I’ve known many a traveler that will oversleep for a few hours, thus further throwing off your body clock.

If you follow an exercise routine at home, there is no reason to abandon it in Italy. Most hotels do not have any type of fitness centers, but it does not hurt to ask. If you are a jogger, many of the cities have excellent parks where you can exercise. You can also ask the hotel for the nearest “palestra” or gym and get a daily pass. And don’t be afraid to follow the Italian tradition of “la passegiata” or the evening stroll before dinner.

Eat a healthy diet (which is actually easy to do in Italy) – plenty of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid high-carb meals as they tend to promote sleepiness (not very easy to do in Italy). Foods rich in fiber and protein tend to promote wakefulness. Just look for the “Secondi piatti” on the menu, or the second courses that tend to be meat or fish or poultry. The first courses tend to be the pasta and high-carb meals.

Avoid over-eating, binge drinking, caffeine - warning – the coffee in Italy (i.e. espresso) tends to be much stronger than what you may be used to in the United States or Canada. After you get acclimated, I do recommend that you try some of their delicious coffee.

So don’t let jet lag get you down. With a little planning and foresight, you can have a zombie-free Italian vacation.



0 #1 Johnson Cool 2011-10-10 13:40
gr8 tips, one thing for certain is that jet lag makes me feel like a zombie for sure. :-x

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