Breaking Free from Jet Lag

Teaching students a foreign language in Thailand is the height of personal enjoyment for me. It is the culmination of my career goals. I much prefer working with them in person rather than over the Internet. The rewards are many. In fact, there are very few drawbacks. Most jobs entail either too much routine or not enough stimulation. I get the latter without the former. Every day is unique. The surroundings are so divine that I feel like I am in a paradisiacal heaven. I love nothing more than a quiet stroll after class before I undertake my grading and lesson planning.

It wasn’t always a breeze. When I first moved to the country, I suffered terrible jet lag. I had to go home a few times and the back and forth trips were exhausting, especially with the lack of sunlight I got back home. Some people say that getting a lack of sunlight can cause depression. I had to find a way to cope and it was tough until I discovered Be Right Light and sunrise alarms. In fact, I still use them now and then. I tell everyone I know. They give you complete control over your ability to sleep and rise at the appropriate hour. Those of you who have gotten up repeatedly in the middle of the night know of what I speak. I tried melatonin but don’t like the idea of even a non-prescription medication that might be addictive. The bottle label warns to stop usage after a few months. Products that treat jet lag are more advanced now and less harmful.

Wake up lights are meant to establish a routine and are great for children with insomnia. You can program them to be accompanied by music—all using an app on your mobile phone. A friend of mine has taught her two-year-old son to wait until the light turns green before he gets out of bed for breakfast. Adults also like waiting those extra minutes. There are many options on the Internet including lights by Phillips that come with colored sunrise simulation. It’s ingenious!

Sunrise alarms are a great alternative. It is true wakeup light therapy and I highly recommend it. It has saved me more than a few times. I can fight my jet lag with ease having this mechanical help. I have one with a dusk fading night light. If you want a combination alarm and radio, you can have it for a little more money. Most people enjoy waking up to music as long as it isn’t too raucous. I have a local station in Thailand that helps me greet the day. Others like to get natural sounds along with their alarm/light combination. You can choose what is likely to work best for your needs.

If you plan to travel and are worrying about jet lag, do not fear. There are ample remedies. You just prepare yourself in advance and stop fretting over one horrible sleepy day and alert night. You will soon get your normal rhythms back in no time. It gets easier the more you adhere to a specific routine.