I like telling people how jetlagged I am after I travel. I suppose I’m trying to elicit sympathy or something. But then it occurred to me that there are probably many people out there that have never actually experienced jetlag. I throw around that word freely because many people in my circle know exactly what I’m talking about and have experienced it firsthand many, many times. For the rest of you though, I would say this: you may think you know, but you have no idea…
I remember, before I used to travel through time zones like I was passing through neighborhoods, thinking that jetlag was just feeling a bit tired and sleepy at the wrong time of day. Sure, that’s part of it but that explanation merely scratches the surface. Let me try and explain in better detail…
When you travel to the other side of the globe, you try your best to stay up until normal bedtime. This is a feat in and of itself. Every fiber of your being is telling you to close your eyes and succumb to mother nature, but you fight it and force your eyelids back open after every blink. I’ve been known to play games with myself and treat myself to an extra long blink. Usually this will end up in a 20-minute catnap that I snap out of and have to go splash my face with cold water.
When you finally do get to lay your head down on the pillow, it’s the best feeling in the world. Seriously. It’s like euphoria. You know how sometimes you get a really strong urge to thank God for the little things in life that you tend to overlook? This is one of those moments. I’m usually one of those people who toss and turn and have about 14 internal conversations before I can fall asleep, but nights like these I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow.
It is the best. Sleep. Ever. And it lasts for probably about 3 hours. 4 if you’re lucky. And it’s not as if you groggily roll over and slowly slit your eyelids to look at the clock. You are wide-awake without the slightest hint of sleepiness in your body. If you try and close your eyes again, you’re simply using way too many eye muscles to keep them shut and your body is telling you it’s futile anyway. You’re up. And you know what else you are? Starving! I’m talking about hunger pains that dig deep into your soul and make funny noises that you want to blame on someone else. I’m a ravenous beast when I wake up from these types of slumbers.
Mornings like these can be the most productive of your life, especially if you aren’t used to being a morning person. I get my best cleaning done and have arrived to the grocery store before it even opened. It’s a good thing too because by late afternoon you are almost a useless human being. The tiredness will hit you like a ton of bricks. Actually, it’s more like the bricks are piled neatly on top of your skull and every 30 minutes another one is added. Oh…and you feel nauseous.
Now it’s just a waiting game. You try to outlast your crushing skull and the feelings of dizziness because you know if you just stay strong, you can beat this monster in a couple days and go back to being a productive member of society the whole day through. I’m on Day 2.
If you’ve experienced jetlag, how would you describe it? Anything I left out? Am I just a big baby or is this pretty accurate?